Sunday, September 25, 2016

The baby of the family, C finished Book of Mormon

I never got why the "baby" of the family was spoiled, but now I think I understand. When it's just me and Nora all day everyday, it's easy/convenient/inexpensive to say 'yes' to anything and everything. "Mom, can we go to Cafe Rio for lunch?" Love to! "Can we go to the park and library?" Yep. "Can I do preschool (even though none of our other kids did)?" Why not. "And dance class?" Sure honey. "And can you buy me this Rainbow Dash pony costume since we're at Costco and they have it?" I suppose since you mostly get hand-me-downs, poor girl. 

Here's what a typical monthly calendar looks like for a family of 7, which is busy, busy!
We're so proud of Charles who finished reading the Book of Mormon this week! He chose to have his celebratory dinner date with mom and dad at Smash Burger.

Even though Nora is going to a preschool right now, I also still have her work on her letter and numbers at home with me. Over the past couple of weeks she has learned how to write her full name: Nora Margaret Smith. Good job Nora!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Backyard Work

When we bought this house, there were a couple of projects we wanted to do: 1) finish the basement 2) paint a couple of walls (check!) 3) put in new carpet (check!)  and 4) backyard landscaping including putting in a patio and planting trees. We decided to start on the outdoor work while the weather is still nice. We wanted a back patio that went the length of the house and since we had all this really nice rock along the back of one side, we decided to shovel it into buckets and save it for a firepit. Shoveling all that rock took a couple of hours with all of us working on it. 
 Next we dug out the sod for an 11x11 foot square for the fire pit area. That was a lot more work than what we'd originally thought :). But that's okay; it's character building.
Once the fire pit area was cleared we brought the buckets of rock over and just let them hang out for about a week until we got the fire ring and cement blocks in from home depot. 

My good friends neighbor does concrete so we hired him to come and do the cement patio. He came in with his bobcat no a Monday, tore it all up, laid down gravel and by Friday it was all done! 

We all loved watching him work the bobcat. 

 Though it did a number on our grass. At least it wasn't a huge area and I think most of it should come back to life on it's own through time.

 Thursday morning he had some guys come in with him, early, to lay down the cement which took about 2 hours.

Friday he did some cutting and in the morning and then it was done! 

Saturday we had all of our supplies in for the fire pit so we spent a few hours out back putting that together. We'd like to build some benches, but that might need to wait until a future day. For now we can use camping chairs. I always underestimate the time I'm going to be spending working outside on projects and so true to form, I go sunburned on my face, ears and neck which made for a very warm evening :). Whoops! 

And now we're waiting on the sprinkler guys to come and finish what Scott and I started when we tried to redo the sprinklers ourselves after we had to move them from where we put down the patio :). 

Next up on the list will be the basement, and that's going to be a very long, big project, and who knows when it'll be done, but we're hoping in around about a year if we (meaning mostly scott) work hard. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Dream, J date, piano duets, BYU football

I have a friend that lives in south jordan who I see probably a couple of times a year, and we message about that often as well. She's the same age as me, has 6 kids, her husband is the bishop plus he works for the church and often travels to south america, so she's busy! Anyway, I don't usually remember dreams, there have been a couple of times where I've had a meaningful dream with a message or something for me, but mostly I don't remember even having dreams. Early Thursday morning I had a dream that this friend needed me to babysit her kids. The feeling was so strong and the message so clear that when I woke up at my normal 515-530ish am time, I immediately told Scott about the dream and told him I'd try and contact her soon and see if she needed my help. Then I went on to study my scriptures but as I read I kept thinking that I needed to contact her soon so I finished. I felt like it was too early but finally around 630am I sent her a text message saying that I'd been thinking about her and that if she needed a babysitter today, tomorrow or next week or whenever to let me know because most of the kids are in school now and I'm pretty free; and that if she didn't need help we should still get together soon. I didn't want to sound crazy but texting at 630 in the morning offering to babysit sounded a little that way, but I knew I needed to do this. 

Once I sent that message off, I went downstairs to exercise and after a short time I heard my phone making noises and when I checked she had responded saying that the following morning her 8 year old daughter needed to go into the hospital for eye surgery and that if I was available that would be helpful, and an answer to prayer. I later told her about the dream and we both felt grateful and amazed at the goodness of the Lord and his watchful care. 
 September is Jane's date month with mom and dad and she choose to eat breakfast at Kneaders (which I'd never done before but always wanted too because I heard they had yummy bottomless french toast) and then she wanted to get some booties that she could wear inside of her church shoes. So that's what we did.

All three of the oldest kids are working on duets right now for recitals that are coming up soon. I love hearing them play!
 Elisabeth is doing this cool piano quartet to the song, "don't stop believin'" by journey. You can watch it below:

 Saturday night was the BYU football game which we watched with the Ludwig and Wilcox family. It was fun to watch our boys, who are now at an age where they are totally enthralled with watching the game :).

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Trees, Raingutter Regatta, Annabelle's Art, N Dance

We planted 11 trees this week, 9 on Labor day and 2 another day. Six of the trees were babies which only took about 2 hours for all six but then each of the other big trees each took about an hour a piece. We were so tired and sore by the end of Labor day; when we dug our last hole that day I was literally on my knees as we dug because my body was exhausted and my hands and forearms were sore for the next two days. Whew! I had no idea how much work was involved with planting trees and digging large holes (especially in our rocky Utah soil)! 
 Most of the trees are evergreens. We wanted some along the back fence that we green all year round so that we had privacy all year round since the houses behind us are a bit too close. We planted 2 Leland Cypress, 2 Arborvitae (my granny dorothy and grandpa fred had a bunch of these in their yard), 6 junipers and 1 emerald city tulip which is a shade tree for the front yard. We'll be planting one more very large juniper that a friend is giving us from their house.

 Charles had his raingutter regatta this week and he won one and lost one.
 I loved this art work that Annabelle did for her 'caldecott medal' book report this week. She's such an artist!
The newly transplanted trees need to be watered every day, the bigger ones need 5 gallons, so Nora has been my helper and each morning after we get the kids off to school we go out and water all our trees which takes about 15 minutes. 

 Nora also started preschool with an old neighbor friend this week (TWTH from 10-1130, free of charge, we just help pay for supplies) and a few other kids from the neighborhood. We also signed her up for a ballet and tap class with a couple of her friends which she loves!

Monday, September 12, 2016

St George

Our friends the Hansen's invited us to stay in their parents vacation home with them over the Labor Day weekend in St. George. We got there Friday night and we let the kids swim in the pool for a bit before they went to bed. Saturday morning Elisabeth and I got up at 6 and went to the St George temple (which is the first temple where people did ordinances for the dead). 
There was hardly anyone in there so we got right in and got to work. It was beautiful and peaceful and perfect. Look at that gorgeous sky!
After we got back to the house we packed up some lunches and headed to Snow Canyon where we went on a couple of hikes. 

After the hikes we came home for a couple of hours so the little ones could nap. Some of the big kids went for a swim and some of us watched the new Jungle Book movie.
After, we went to the children's museum for about an hour and then had dinner at a Mexican restaurant. We ended the night with the girls watching the old Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie and the boys watching the BYU football game. The game didn't actually start until 830 and our movie finished by 9ish and then some of us went to bed because we were tired from our later night the night before.
Sunday we went to sacrament meeting at a ward in the area and then we came home for lunch and then went to visit Brigham Youngs home and then to the visitors center at the St George temple. I loved this prayer stool by Brigham Youngs bed that he'd kneel on when praying.

We made a couple of frozen lasagnas and salad for dinner and then our family took off for home around 6pm. Nora fell asleep around 7 and slept the rest of the car ride home. It was a nice weekend getaway before we had to get up early and work again, planting a bunch of trees in our yard on Labor day! Thanks Hansen's for inviting us!