Friday, November 4, 2011

I don't usually post pictures of myself, but I had a request to see my new hair color. I'm not terribly photogenic. That being said, I'm not looking for compliments. It's just a statement of fact and I'm OK with that. There's nothing wrong with being better looking in person than in pictures. :) It's actually why Quin is in the picture. Despite the fact that his shirt is dirty, he needs a haircut, and his face had some unknown substance on it, he is still pretty cute and I figure people will want to look at him instead of me...
I've never had hair this dark. I think I like it. Andrew had a bit of an adjustment after it was done. He usually doesn't care what I do to my hair, but will admit that he likes it blonde, if he has his say (which, when it comes to my hair, he rarely does). He attributes it to the fact that I was a legitimate blonde when he met me. As I've gotten older and with every passing pregnancy, my hair gets darker and darker. It's just too much work to keep it blonde anymore.
My kids thought it was a little weird at first, until I pointed out that it looked more like Callie now and that made her happy. It also made Leah angry. She has asked me to dye it back to normal and has also asked me to dye hers the same dark color so we can look more alike again. Silly girls. My sister-in-law told me that it makes me look more like my sisters, who all have darker hair. Go figure.
Anyway, here it is. It will probably stay this way for awhile.... probably. :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kolob Reservoir

A couple weekends ago we went up to Kolob Reservoir with Michelle, Steve and the cousins. We missed the fall colors by a good two weeks and it was COLD! OK, it felt cold to us, which probably meant it was normal for most people in the fall. The drive up was great. It takes you around the backside of Zion National Park and actually through the park at one point. It was really beautiful. We found a place to stop, had lunch, and threw lots of rocks into the water. Quinten would have been happy to do that the whole time we were there.

Munchkin got to come along. He went in the water (that had to be absolutely freezing) and then looked like a drowned rat and tracked mud all over the blankets. :) Poor dog.

I've discovered recently that I take a lot of pictures of Quinten and find myself wondering if I focus on him more than the girls because he is the youngest or because he is the only boy... either way, it really is unintentional. He's just so cute.

This is all the girls: Breanna, Amber, Leah, Alexa and Callie.

Derrick is the only boy who opted to have a picture with the girls. He's such a good sport. I sometimes wonder if it's because he doesn't have little sisters of his own, so he doesn't mind all of our crazy girls as much. Well, I appreciate him no matter what.

For the most part, the boys were cold (poor babies) and sat in the van while they ate. After they were done, they went hunting for rocks to throw in the water. Big rocks. That made large splashes. I gave them instructions to make sure my kids weren't anywhere near when they threw them in.

I took this picture just to show how bad it looked when we got up there. No good color. Just brown. Blah.

We walked up a hill above the Reservoir and it happened to be about 10 degrees warmer than it was below, not to mention the wind was almost non-exsistent. And Quinten found every patch of mud he could and walked in it. Lovely. We also saw some guys coming back to their cabin from hunting a big buck. It was huge and laying dead in the back of their truck. Both the boys and the girls found that to be pretty cool.

After we ate, we drove back down into the park and stopped at a trailhead to hike a little bit. Quin, of course, fell asleep on the way down, so Andrew stayed in the car with him while the rest of us hiked. The boys ended up giving piggy back rides to the girls for quite a ways. My girls love having the big boys around. I guess we just don't have enough of that at our house. My girls think they are cool and follow them around and try really hard to tease and annoy them. Luckily, the boys are good sports about it and are really so nice to the girls. We ended up turning around before we got to our destination just becaue we were afraid the girls wouldn't be able to make it the whole way back.

Stopping for a break... actually, I think we were stopping so Amber could catch up to everyone else. She was a little miffed at being in the back. Austin was playing wheelbarrow with Munchkin.

We left after we got back to the parking lot and headed home. Quinten woke up while we were getting the girls in the car, but soon fell asleep and slept the whole way home. Leah used the "bathroom" before we left. It was really a glorified porta-potty. She told me that it cooled her butt off with the air coming up from the hole. She seemed to think this was a good thing. Oh, Leah. The things she says. This is a shot coming back down the switchbacks. I made Andrew pull over just so I could take a picture.

This was also taken on our way back down to the highway. This picture doesn't really do the color of the fields justice with the red rock in the background. It was a beautiful yellow and looked amazing. Our kids were quiet on the way home- I think we sucessfully wore everyone out and that made me happy. :) Quinten, on the other hand, was wide awake when we got home and stayed awake for way too long before he fell asleep for the night. I guess a nap until 5 in the evening will do that to a two year old.

It was fun to get away for a little bit and great to spend time with Steve, Michelle and the kids.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tuacahn's The Little Mermaid

I took the girls to see The Little Mermaid at Tuacahn on October 18th. It was truly out of luck that we got to go at all. I put off getting tickets this summer, thinking that it would be easier to wait until the fall when it had cooled off to take them. They had been asking for ages, mostly because Andrew and I had seen it on the first day it was out with some of his friends from work. The girls wanted their turn, of course. I was in no rush, however, to sit through it again. (Selfish, I know). It's not that I didn't like it- it's just that there have been others that I have liked better. But, it was a well-done show and I knew the girls would love it. So, the beginning of September rolled around and we found out that Andrea was coming to visit and she wanted to go with all the girl cousins to see it. Michelle and I started looking into tickets, only to find that every show was sold out till the end of the season. Popular show, huh? So we broke the bad news to the girls, who were mad at me, of course. But, what could be done?? Nothing. Then one morning the beginning of October I was taking Leah to preschool and I heard on the radio that they were opening up one more show on a Tuesday night (it played on Mon, Wed, and Fri all summer and fall) and tickets went on sale that day. As soon as I got home, I got online and bought tickets. The girls were thrilled. Quinten was mad when he learned he was staying home with Dad. Typical, I suppose. :)

We had amazing seats, seven rows back, and the girls could see everything. This picture above was after the show. Leah was too tired to stand in front of the stage for a picture. The weather was really good- cool, but not cold. As I sat and watched my girls during the show, I saw all of their different personalities come through in HOW they watched the show. Alexa sat quietly and intently watched every minute of the show without emotion or even a smile. Callie squirmed in her seat, trying to dance to the music; and several times I had to tell her to stop singing. Leah sat on my lap instead of her seat and asked me question after question after question till I was sick of answering her. It was exactly what I would have expected from each of them. How are they all so different?! The whole place was sold out, and a zoo, so we didn't stop and get any real pictures. The con to doing this on a weekday was that we had school the next day and it was after 11 o'clock by the time we got home. We had a great time, though. I'm glad I got a chance to spend time with my girls.

Next year they are doing Aladdin... we will be getting our tickets early and going in the heat of the summer.

Alexa's Piano Recital

Alexa's piano recital was a couple week back. It's always in October and the piano students all dress up. It's lots of fun. Alexa did a great job on her piano piece. She has really started to improve and sound like she knows what she is doing in the last few months! Her songs are getting harder, but she is keeping up with them. She loves to practice... sometimes a little too much. There are a few songs that are her favorites and I would be happy if she would forget them. Her teacher is my good friend, Heather. Usually I try to get a picture of Heather and Alexa together, but Quin was a crazy man and we needed to get out of the building as fast as possible or he probably would've broken something expensive. Heather is a great teacher- we love her so much!!

Halloween 2011

I'm so glad Halloween is over. It's far from my favorite holiday and it seems to last longer and longer every year. This I had to dress up kids for a piano recital, two different dance classes, the church party, the school parties (which were on Friday instead of Monday), a preschool party, and the actual Halloween night. I am done. Very, very done. Leah decided to change her mind halfway through the week long event, which I was actually glad about. She was going to be Little Red Riding Hood first. Then we went and saw the Little Mermaid at Tuacahn and she decided to be Ariel (as seen above). Then, after one day of Ariel she decided to be a witch. The witch is the easiest by far and I was glad it finally stuck.

These are the spoils from the Ward Halloween party last Tuesday night. It's the same every year and the kids love it: dinner at the park at the end of our street, carnival games put on by the Young Men and Young Women and some Trunk-or-Treating. It's so easy and I love that it is close to home.

This is before we went out on Monday night. Leah and Quinten managed to break a broomstick sometime in the last week and I refused to get the other down for her because I knew it would take the same path. And, I have no idea where her hat was. Typical Leah. She marches to the beat of a different drum....

I think Callie's costume said it was a leopard lady. She loved it, of course. It's right up her alley- pink with a little fluff.

Ahh- there's the hat. Good thing her hat covered her crazy hair. That is what I love best about this costume: I didn't have to try to tame her crazy hair into anything other than what it was. Actually, there is a great possibility that her hair never even got combed on Monday....

Alexa is... picky. If her costume wasn't just so, she wouldn't leave the house. If her hair wasn't just so, she wouldn't leave the house. If her makeup didn't look exactly how she envisioned it in her mind, she wouldn't leave the house. She is the reason I hate this holiday. OK, not the whole reason, but some of it. It's way too much work pleasing her. Next year she informed me she wants to be an archer. Really? An archer? Anyone have a bow and arrow I can borrow for next year??

Isn't he the cutest pirate you ever saw? Andrea and Mike bought his costume for him while they were in town. He wanted to to be like Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. He has spent the last two weeks hitting his sisters with his sword. And I have spent the last two weeks taking it from him and hiding it on top of the fridge or my armoire. He actually liked trick-or-treating this year. He was worn out after one street, but he sat in the stroller and was so good after that. And he loves the fact that he has his own bag of candy to pull treats from. Leah didn't last much longer than Quin, and she sat in the stroller when she was done, as well. The other girls literally ran from house to house and we couldn't keep up with them. It was a beautiful night- the weather was perfect. It's one of the many perks of living in St. George, I guess. My sister Honor says we sometimes don't live in reality here. That kids can run around a neighborhood in short sleeves on Halloween, not to mention go door to door safely, is something that doesn't happen where they live. She is right. We live in the perfect neighborhood for Halloween. The streets are flat, the neighbors are great, the weather is good... we are very lucky to live here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Farm

Andrea and Mike came to visit during UEA this year. The weather was great and we got to do some fun things with them. Actually, the weather was so good that we even went swimming at Green Valley one day! We spent Saturday afternoon at the farm- it was a lot of fun, but so hot! I was glad to get in our air conditioned car when we left! And, you'll be able to tell by the pictures that towards the end, everyone was worn out. Above is a group shot just before we went it. You can see that the sun was too bright and we had a hard time getting everyone with their eyes open.

Alexa is the driver, Breanna is the pig (or hog, I suppose is more appropriate :)), Callie is the pumpkin and Leah is poking around the side. I'm not sure where Amber was for this shot...

Quinten's turn- this was the only hole he could reach on his own.

Leah as the pumpkin.

There was a small pen for petting animals. The kids all loved it.

Quin wanted to ride this little pony. It was just his size. He wasn't afraid like I thought he would be!

This witch was wandering around. She was nice enough to stop and take a picture with us.

I can't remember what they called this thing, but it was shaped like a huge pillow, filled with air. The kids had a great time jumping on it, except for Breanna who thought it wasn't worth it to have to untie her shoes to get on. Quin didn't want to get off, but then a couple bigger boys got on and he got scared. They would jump and he would fall and bounce his way around. I had to grab his legs to get him off. (Because I wasn't about to get on the thing either).

I guess if you're in to John Deere, you can find the stuff anywhere. There were Little John Deere trikes and ride ons, stick horses, etc. And this thing, which Quinten loved. It was actually Lex's idea to get all four of them on it for a picture. Doesn't Quin look happy?

I'm not sure how this picture didn't get flipped, but I wasn't willing to go back and fix it. :) There was a toy kind of like a merry-go-round where the horses were made of tires, that you had to spin around with the use of ropes (which Mike ended up doing.... a lot... we were glad he came with us). Amber loved it, in particular. She didn't want to get off.

The girls, minus Amber, all took turns riding horses. This is Breanna and Alexa.

Callie and Leah.

More of the spinning horse toy.

There was a big playhouse that Quin played in. It had stairs up to an overlook tower that he really liked.

Group shot in front of the scarecrow sign.

This picture was the last picture I took and really should have gone at the end. You can see that everyone looks hot and slightly irritated. It was on the ride back from the corn maze. It was time to go, I think.

This was on the way to the corn maze. Everyone was in better spirits here and excited for what we were about to do. Maybe we should have done the corn maze first and then they would have enjoyed it more.

Entering the corn maze. Quinted made me carry him most of the way, which I hated. Mike was in charge of getting us to the middle in the shortest amount of time. He took a few wrong turns, but we eventually made it. And the way out seemed much, much quicker.

Here is the flag to prove that we did it. They had fun, but 10 degrees cooler really would have help us out!

We were glad we got to spend some time with Andrea and Mike. We love when they come to visit!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

More Leah-isms

When I said there were funny things my kids say that I didn't want to forget, maybe it would have been more accurate to say that Leah says funny things that I don't want to forget. Here's a couple more:

Yesterday we have two soccer games. When we got home from Callie's in the afternoon, Andrew cut the lawn, so the kids played outside. It was a beautiful day and the sun felt great. When it was time to come in, Leah's entire backside was soaked. My first assumption was that she had peed her pants because she was too busy to come in and go to the bathroom. She denied this, of course, but couldn't tell us why she was all wet. Andrew and I were both trying to get her to tell us exactly how it happened. Finally, after she had changed her clothes and was back in the living room she said, "You really want to know the truth? My butt was hot, so I had to pour water from a water bottle on it." That girl is crazy.

We went to the High School football game on Friday night because Callie was doing cheer during the halftime show. It was late when we left for home and we kept trying to convince everyone that they needed to sleep in on Saturday morning, except for Alexa, who had a 9AM soccer game. So, Leah's solution to that was, "You have to sleep out, Lex, not sleep in." It makes perfect sense, I suppose- the opposite of in is out. It just sounded so funny when she said it.

Quinten couldn't get enough of the football game. He was upset we left before he could properly say goodbye to the team. All through the parking lot to the car he was near tears saying, "I didn't say goodbye to the Panthers." I guess we need to make it a point to take him to more games if that is all it takes to make him happy.

Scripture Cookies

So, Alexa has been asking for the last couple weeks to make scripture cookies from a recipe her Grandma Louisa gave her. You know the ones- you look up the scripture and it has an ingredient to add to the bowl to make the cookies. We finally did it today. She looked up the scriptures and read them, got the ingredient, then I would add it to the bowl. I'm ashamed to say that I am a pathetic excuse for a mother when it comes to making cookies. I know this for the sheer fact that while the cookies were in the oven all three of my girls were saying things like, "Wow. This is so fun. We haven't done this in a really long time." OR, "All we usually do is make cookies from a mix. This is way better!" Yikes. I was totally called out without them even realizing it.

I do have a fairly legitimate excuse for not being a "cookie baking mom"... so let me fill you in. Andrew and I got married 11 years ago. For the first two and a half years it was just us. And when Alexa was born, she obviously couldn't eat cookies or cake or pie for at least nine months. So, it was over three years where if I made anything sweet, it was just Andrew and I to eat it. I learned very quickly that if I made anything that resembled dessert, Andrew would typically eat a token piece of whatever it was as soon as it was done, then he wouldn't touch it after that. At first I think I was offended, until I realized that he'd rather sit down with a bag of chips or a bowl of popcorn before he'd sit with anything that contained sugar. So, if I made anything he'd have a piece and I'd finish it off over the course of the next few days. Eating a whole raspberry pie (minus one piece) isn't good for anyone. Sometimes I couldn't eat whatever it was before it would go bad or stale and then I was just throwing food away. So, I just stopped making stuff. If I wanted it, I'd buy a cookie mix that only made two dozen cookies instead of six dozen. If I wanted brownies, I'd buy the Betty Crocker single mix that goes in the microwave (I'm not picky :)) and eat it when I wanted it. And even now I frequent the cupcake store if I'm really in the mood for a cakebite or a cupcake. I guess over the years I've forgotten that maybe my kids need and want the experience of having homemade treats in the house. The funny thing is, I'm actually a fairly good cook. I may not like it much, but I'm completely capable of doing it. And sometimes I wonder if I don't really enjoy it because I've always got a baby competing for my time, so I feel rushed in the kitchen. I'm always looking for the fast, easy out so I can get to everything and everyone that needs my time. Maybe as my kids get older I will change my mind.

I have sisters who are incredibly talented when it comes to homemaking... even when they have babies. I didn't get that gene- I'm too much like my mom. I actually think that is a good thing. My mom is the best and I have no problems with being just like her. I hope that someday my kids will recognize I taught them the importance of learning and reading, music, exercise, service, self-reliance and a million other things. I figure if it really means that much to my kids to learn the "crafty" side of motherhood, they can hang out with my sisters every summer and learn all there is to know. :)

My new resolve is to make something homemade once a month for the sake of my kids. Once a month, you say? That's not much to some of you, but for me it's a step in the right direction.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Funny Little Things...

Sometimes my kids just make me laugh. They say things that I always think to myself, "I need to remember that and write it down so I don't forget." And then life happens, I don't write it down and I forget. So, here are a few of them so I will remember them with fondness in years to come... and possibly torture them with the memories. :)

Leah slept in footed pajamas last night even though I thought she was going to be too hot. As it turned out, it was a cool night and we woke up to a chilly 73 degrees in our house. (That's the lowest it's been since probably March, so to us it was cold.) She came out of her room this morning and the pajamas were unzipped to her belly button. She laughed and said, "Look, I slept like this." I said, "Well, I'm sure you were still warm enough," to which she replied, "Indeed, I was." Truly. She even used it in the right context... I was so proud. :)

Quinten came running out of his room the other night with a fistful of money from someone's piggy bank. He said, "Look Mom! Look at all my money." I, of course responded with, "Wow. Where did you get all that?" He said, "In my room. Except the rest of it fell down the butt crack of my bed." The girls were in hysterics and I had a hard time keeping a straight face.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Leah Jayne

Leah started preschool about a month ago. I can hardly believe that this is her last year and next year she will be in Kindergarten! Wow. I am trying to decide if she's ready for that... or better yet, if I'm ready for that. Three kids in elementary school?! Yikes. Last year I signed up to help on the first day of school for her. I knew she would be nervous and it would help the transition if I was there. I decided to do the same thing this year. Leah's class hadn't changed much- a couple kids gone with a few new additions. I think that helped make her feel better about it. The biggest thing I was worried about was that her friend, Shane, wasn't going to be there. She took it better than I thought she would and we've moved on to playing with other kids at school. Every day when I pick her up I ask her who she played with at recess. Typically, it's a girl named Callista. I'm just glad she's playing with the girls this year! :)

Leah had her first day of school outfit picked out a month before school started. She was so excited to get dressed the morning of the first day. She was awake before 7:00, which is SO unlike her. I don't know if it was nerves or excitement. We got her ready, dropped the big girls off at school and headed to her school. I know helping on the first day was the right thing. She sat next to me the whole time, only wanted to play with me and was terribly quiet. But, she had fun and I knew she'd be OK the next day.

Now I just drop her off at the curb, she runs in and doesn't look back. She is extremely excited when she brings homework home. She sits at the counter and works hard to make all her letters look just right. I know she is taking notes from her sisters and it makes me grateful they don't fight me too badly on their homework.

Quinten is now a loner on the mornings Leah is at school. The first day of school he spent with Andrew while I was helping with Leah. He was still asleep when I left, but Andrew said he woke up shortly after we had gone. He ate breakfast and ran some errands with Andrew. When I got home, he was watching TV, eating donuts on the floor and hardly talked to us. He looked up just long enough to say, "Mom, we got donuts!" Apparently he enjoyed his alone time with Dad. And he seems to be enjoying his alone time with me, as well. I thought he would protest a bit to having Leah gone, but he really only protests the fact that he can't go to his school. I always tell him his school is with me... he's not convinced it's a legitimate school. :) We run errands, clean the house, hang out with Dad, (who is always trying to work while we "hang out with him"... he humors us, I think, even though he's busy...). And, occasionally we buy tasty treats for ourselves and we don't share with anyone. Now, that alone should be enough to make Mom's school legitimate!

I'm not sure what I will do with Quinten next year. He will be old enough for preschool, but I really don't anticipate sending him to Kindergarten till he's six. His birthday is so late in May, I just think he will be better off if I wait. So, really he doesn't need to start Preschool for two more years. However, maybe next year I will change my mind. He will really be sick of Mom's school by then. You never know what could happen between now and then!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Our Super Quick Trip

Last weekend we went up to SLC to say goodbye to my sister, Siri, and her family. They are now living in the flat (or so she tells me) state of Wisconsin. It will be the first time in many, many, many years that she and I haven't lived near each other and the first time I haven't had another family member living in Utah with me. I'll be honest, it makes me sad. Even though SLC is four hours from here, it is still close enough to know that we can see each other if we need or want to. Wisconsin is a flying trip only and those won't happen nearly as much. I will miss her, but I am happy for this new experience they will have.
I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I should have while were there. Acually, these pictures at Bridalveil Falls on our way out of town were the only pictures I took.

We drove up on Friday and stayed in Midway with our good friends, the Spencers. We love visiting with them! They have four little boys that stagger the ages of our girls. It's so much fun to see them all together. Early Saturday morning we met a friend of Siri's at Wheeler Farms in Midvale to take family pictures. What was going to be family pictures actually turned out being pictures of the kids and a few of me with them... Andrew didn't come with us on this trip. He just started a new job and was working both jobs for two weeks and was truly on overload. Not enough hours in the day to get everythig done, as usual. The pictures turned out great, even though it was not a true family picture- I was really happy with the rest.

We hung out with Siri, Chris, Jack, and Will the rest of Saturday. We spent the afternoon swimming, playing, and touring IKEA because my kids would live at IKEA if I would let them. It was fun to see the cousins together one last time and sad to drive away.

We went to church with John and Rach on Sunday morning, which was not a fun experience. Four kids who had a busy weekend, who were with their friends at church= not a happy mom. We left after Sacrament Meeting, changed our clothes and started for home. We stopped at Bridalveil, which is where all these pictures came from. We took the path up to the Falls and back. I haven't done that in years! It was fun and it got all the kids' energy out before we got in the car for the drive home.

It will be odd to go to Salt Lake and not see Siri and her family anymore. She was the reason we went there. I guess it will make trips up North fewer and farther between.