Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Aspen Grove Marriage Getaway (with Hank Smith)

Last weekend I surprised Scott with a Marriage Getaway at Aspen Grove (Provo Canyon). I bought the tickets 5 months prior and knew he'd see a charge on the card so I told him I had a surprise date in September and then just left it at that. A few weeks before, I told him he'd need to be home by 130 on Friday the 23rd and not to ask any questions. He did good. I gave him all the details the night before we left as I wanted him to be able to pack his own bag since it was an overnighter. I made sure things were covered at home, kids had rides to their various activities, and that we had a sitter come to stay the night(thanks Brittany Scott!), and then we were off by 2pm Friday afternoon. We checked in at 3 and went down and found our cabin. We had a cabin to ourselves though we shared a bathroom with other cabins. 
We dropped our things and went for a hike up Steward Falls. It drizzled the whole time but that didn't stop us; I'm from Seattle, where we did everything in the rain! 

It was absolutely gorgeous! I loved seeing all the changing colors!

It was a 4 mile hike and took a little over an hour. We came back, put on dry clothes, and went over to the game room where we played foosball with a couple we just met, and then we played a game of ping pong. Dinner was served at 615 so we headed over to the dining hall after our games for dinner (dinner, breakfast and lunch were all included); we got to meet quite a few different couples during meals as we ate together at big circular tables. 

At the marriage getaways, they have a more well-known LDS speaker come and do several 1 hour classes on strengthening marriage and family. When I signed up all those months ago I was so pleased to find out we'd get Hank Smith as our speaker! We have several of his cds (he's hilarious and always teaches a good message) and my kids LOVE him. Because it was a smaller group with only maybe 250 people, we got to visit with him and his wife which was fun. Here's Scott with Hank Smith. 

Scott and I made a goal at the end of the last session to have more positive interactions at home. We have a lot of great, positive interactions already, but we'd like more. So that's what we're working on now. The other night I called the kids in for family prayer and scripture study (they were out playing the backyard) and I said, "Hey kids, come in for prayer and a positive experience!" They were like, "Huh?" Scott and I chuckled to ourselves :). So far so good!
 Saturday morning Scott and I went on a six mile jog up and down the alpine loop. It was our first experience running up a mountain. It was hard but awesome! It drizzled the whole time which reminded me of home in Seattle, and when we got higher up, it was snowing! So gorgeous!
We really didn't notice all the beauty going up the climb because we were so focused on just getting up the steep mountain. It wasn't until we were on our way back down, when it was a million times easier, that we were really able to appreciate all of God's creations. Which is a lot like life in general. It's sometimes hard to see the beauty and the blessings until after we've passed through a hard trial or challenge. And it makes us stronger which is a wonderful thing!
Saturday before we took off, I did the ropes course. Scott wasn't feeling up to it and I think he was a little worried about getting back to the kids on time, so he decided to pass.
It was fun, and a little scary at the same time. I got to do a little rock climbing which was nice because it'd been awhile since our last climb.

We had a wonderful weekend and are hoping to do this again sometime.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Jane teeth pulled, Webelo leader and EQ 1st counselor

Jane had a big tooth fully come in, leaning back, behind two baby teeth. Those two baby teeth were not wiggly at all so the dentist wanted to pull them which he did this past week. Here's a picture of the teeth, which, as you can see, the roots were not dissolving at all. 
They gave her some laughing gas so she wouldn't get anxious, then they numbed her and pulled them. She was watching a movie as they did it all and didn't even know they'd pulled the teeth until I told it was time to go and she said, "did they pull the teeth yet?" and we told her that he had. 

Afterward I took the girls to Jamba Juice which I'd told Jane we'd do as a little incentive to sit nicely during the appointment. I got this pitaya bowl which is something my mom told me about and it was so yummy. It's granola with pitaya (super fruit) and some other fruit and coconut. 

 I was called a couple of weeks ago, along with Scott, to be a webelo den leader(10 year old boys). We have around 20 webelos in our ward so they have split them up into two groups and we're over one of the groups. And within a week Scott was called into the Elder's Quorum presidency....this has happened the past 4 wards we've been in :), that Scott gets called into EQ almost immediately, and three times now it's been after we've been called to scouts :). I've never stayed long enough in scouts to know much, but I think they're going to keep me in and get me a partner to work with so I should be learning more and I think it'll be fun.

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!