Wednesday, June 29, 2016


So yesterday, we had the most amazing opportunity!  We have a guy in our ward who's brother works for ATK, a contractor for NASA, down in Utah- just on the other side of Brigham City.  It's kind of hidden, unless you know it's there.  Anyway- they were doing a test launch of their booster that is going up in space (supposedly to Mars) in 2018.  AND WE GOT TO SEE IT!  

It was totally crazy.  We had to leave at 5 AM in order to get there in time.  Shaun was actually able to take part of the day off to go with us.  Yay!  

Here we are- you can see the red countdown clock behind us and the white thing WAY up on the mountain was the booster.  In front you can see the big screen that was showing us the engineers inside the booster as they did their final tests.

There were so many people there- Kate had to climb up on Shaun's back so she could see.  It's rough being the only shortie.

Ry was totally enthralled...

T minus 2 minutes and counting...

Brother Manning let us borrow his binoculars so we could see even better.

And... blast off.  They fired the booster and immediately you could see the white and orange followed by tons of purple smoke.  About three seconds later- the sound hit us.  You could literally see it "hit" the crowd.  Then it just shook your chest for the next two minutes as it continued to fire.

The boys loved every second.  What boy doesn't love a good "BOOM" and pyrotechnic show?

Afterward, we had a little time before I had to be back for piano lessons, so we took the long way around and went out to the Golden Spike National Park.  I've actually never been there.  Learned all about it in Mr. Thompson's 7th grade Utah History class... but I've never seen it.

Ryan was super-less-than- impressed at this point.  He was hot and hungry.  Not a great combination in Ryan.  So he was not at all helpful in smiling for pictures.  That's okay though.  I figure these are excellent blackmail pictures later.  Here they all are at the actual site of the "Golden Spike".

Ty and Kate walking one of the rails...

 Ry eventually joined them. Under great protest.

So that mom could have her picture.  They may actually all end up being like Ryan in the end.  Maybe I shouldn't take so many pictures... NAH!  I love it too much.  :)  I tried to help the little Bear out though and told them to make a silly face for this last picture... apparently Kate was the only one that took me up on it.  C'est la vie, right?
Seriously- it was such a fun morning and we were home by 1.  Whew!

Baseball is Life. The rest is just details...

Babe Ruth once said, "Baseball was, is and always will be to me, the best game in the world."  I think that the Kidds couldn't agree more.  It is SO hot here right now- but every single day my kids are outside throwing around a ball.  The boys have even got Kate out their with her mitt each morning, throwing and catching.  It's like a never ending re-run of the Sandlot in my own backyard.  

I am so sad to say that Ryan had his last baseball game of the season on Monday night.  Maybe this is a good thing- I'm getting a permanent case of bleacher-butt.  

There were two Ryan's on Ry's team this season, so our Ryan was dubbed "Big Ryan," which he just loved.  Here's a shot of Big Ryan headed to the plate...

And it's a HIT!  Run Ry run!!

Ryan had a great couple of coaches this year and a fun group of kids to play ball with.  I am so grateful that they get the chance to get outside and do what they love.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer Days driftin' away...

I am in awe that June is just about over.  I feel like we just got started on this summer vacation and it's already 1/3 over!  Granted- I'm the first to say that this year- we got off to a rough start.  The first week I thought it would be so fun for the kids to just relax and take it easy with no schedules to follow.  HA!  Not funny haha, because that would mean that we were all in on the joke.  Turns out the joke was on me.  My kids were awful.  Terrible.  They fought.  They argued.  They whined.  They complained.  I almost pummeled them all.  

But we got back on track.  The next week I was smarter.  I made them a daily chore chart and came up with some fun ideas for things we could work on and do throughout the summer.  Lesson learned.  My kids need some kind of structure.  At least we figured this out early on right??

Anyway- we signed up for swimming lessons and got library cards and life is much better.  

My kids LOVE to read and once they found out that the library wasn't that far away- we made bi-weekly trips and the kids would take their books outside and read in the sunshine.  

More often than not- they are joined by our kitty, Ray.  Vader never did make a re-appearance around here.  Kids were sad- but I am told that that's just how it goes out here with outside cats.  I'm still not down with it.  Seems callous to me to not care about your pet whether they live inside or outside.  I still miss Vader, and so does Ray... she was a little beside herself after his disappearance.  

She would climb all over the house (seriously... up the brick and everything) trying to get inside with us.  I might have caved and let her in if Ryan wasn't so darn allergic.  But he is... so she stayed outside.  But we are woken each morning with her outside the window Meow-ing loudly for breakfast.  Or attention.  I'm not sure which.

The boys have been fishing this summer too thanks to Grandpa.  We don't have our own gear as of yet- so when we visit Salt Lake, Grandpa JB hooks us up.  The boys are a little obsessed.  Hmmm... I just thought of some GREAT birthday presents...  :) 

The kids are also loving any chance to hang out on a golf course.  The boys are getting pretty darn good too!

And naturally, we still love us some baseball.  It's the American passtime after all.  We went to a University of Utah baseball game one weekend with the kids and it was so fun to just sit and watch and eat snowcones.

If any of you know us- you know how much time we love to spend outside.  Whether it's hiking or playing.  And me... I sometimes just like to sit outside.  The other day, I let the kids eat lunch outside on the deck (my grandma gave us a table and chairs... THANK-YOU GRANDMA) and then I turned the sprinklers on for them.  Rather go inside and do something productive like laundry, I pulled out an old book and sat in the sunshine.  It was lovely!

I have to admit too that I am totally smitten with country living.  The evenings are my absolute favorite.  Things are settling down, most of the time the kids are in bed, and I go outside to water my flowers and my garden, feed that cat and enjoy the sunset.  I think my favorite sounds come from the evenings outside here.  Sitting on my deck I can hear the fish splashing in the river, the birds chirping in the trees and the sprinklers going Ch Ch Ch in the raspberry patch.  It's seriously a little slice of heaven each night around 8:30.

Here's a shot of those gorgeous sunsets I was telling you about...

Kids are loving summer around here too... I caught Kate dancing in her room the other day and I just had to laugh.  She is such a walking contradiction and I love her with my whole soul.

The other afternoon it was sweltering hot outside, so I took the kids bowling just to get in some A/C time.  I know I said we love outside... but sometimes it's just too hot.  Kate had never been bowling before and Ryan had only ever been once.  So off to the lanes.  It was hilarious.  Thank heavens for bumpers.  And ramps.  Though honestly... I still lost to Tyler even WITH the bumpers.  

I am also teaching piano lessons again.  Included in my students this time though are my own kids (insert evil laugh here).  They are actually doing pretty well- even little Kate is getting her fill of notes and counting.  I had to giggle when I made them all sit down together to do their theory.

Last weekend we "rescued" a baby kitty we found out by the mailbox.  It seems she was lost from her family or abandoned.  From what I could tell from the internet- she was only about 4 weeks old.  Super tiny.  I brought her inside and gave her a bath and some milk...
 Ray seemed to tolerate her at best.  But at least they had each other to keep warm during the night right?  Sadly she passed away Saturday morning.  We had her about two weeks and it seriously broke my heart when Shaun found her.  I have to console my self with the thought that we gave her two extra weeks and they were full of loves and snuggles.

And Kate lost a tooth... Unfortunately for her it was loosened when she fell running up the stairs...  Still though... tooth fairy money is money right?

We've also done our best to explore this little area of ours.  I am not content to just live in our little spot on the map- I want to see what's here!  We ventured to Twin Falls for a Doctor's appointment and took some time to stop at the bridge to watch the base jumpers.  It was WILD!!  The kids quickly decided that they were happy to watch but thought the people doing it were stupid.  :)  They are so their father's children.  Personally, I think it looks kind of fun.

Though having kids home does have it's disadvantages too... I came across this after lunch yesterday and just shook my head.

In all... it's been quite a month.  Looking forward to the rest of the summer to see what it brings!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Kate turns 6!

Despite my protests... Kate turned 6 yesterday.  I asked her if she felt any different and she told me yes.  She definitely felt taller.  Her hands were bigger.  And her hair was longer.  So there you have it- that's what 6 feels like.  Though I should add that she then said that she didn't want to turn 7 next year- she just wanted to skip to 18.  I asked her what happened at 18 and she told me that 18 is when you are really tall.  

We started off the day with waffles and lots of syrup and 2 presents.  I told her she had to wait to open up the rest for when her dad was home from work, he would be sad if he missed it.  She was only lightly mollified.  The two I let her open were her new Star Wars Ray T-shirt and some Star Wars sunglasses.  She was pretty stoked with both.  She put them on immediately and asked if I would do her hair like Ray.  I have to admit that I kind of thought my Star Wars themed presents/ parties/ cakes were kind of winding down now that the boys are getting a little older.  Not so it seems.  Kate is just as obsessed as the boys. We did indeed fix her hair like Ray's and we had lunch at Taco Bandito.  

Kate's Favorites:
  • Restaurant:  Taco Bandito
  • Friend:  Kylie
  • Song:  Kiss Me Deadly by Lita Ford
  • Color:  Blue
  • Movie:  Star Wars; the Force Awakens (really was this a question in any ones mind?)
  • Food:  Taco Salad
  • Thing to do: Play with her brothers
  • Book:  Ramona the Pest and Angelina Ballerina

Our afternoon was spent searching for one of our kitties, Vader... we had a crazy windstorm the other night and it seems he was scared off.  We looked forever for some trace of him.  We never did find him...  makes me so sad!

That evening when dad returned home, Kate opened up the rest of her presents (yes all Star Wars) and we had a yummy dinner outside with Grandma and Papa.   

Kate had requested a chocolate chip Ray birthday cake.  She was pretty pleased with the results.

Love this baby of mine!  

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Here's to the Number 6.

I'm feeling a little sentimental this week.  And sniffle-y.  And sad.  My baby turns 6 on Tuesday.  6 people.  Where has the time gone??  I still feel like if I go into her bedroom I'll see the chubby little girl with blonde curls trying to eat the lotion.  But instead... I walk into a bedroom that has been "decorated" by little hands.  And she's no longer eating the lotion- she has her own scents and she chooses daily which one she's going to use.  Gone are the binkies and lulla-bye music.  They too have been replaced by an American Girl and a country radio station.  What gives??

In the fall, she heads off to kindergarten.  I begged her to go back to preschool again next year.  She just shook her head at me and said, "Mama- I've already had my shots.  I get to go this year."  And she's right.  She is so excited- and her best friends are all going too.  I know she's ready.  I've watched her (more closely than I think she realizes) for the last three years in preschool- and I know that she knows her shapes and numbers.  She knows her colors and quite frankly can read better than most 1st graders in Ryan's class this year.  I've listened to her as her R's actually morph into something that actually sounds like an R now.  She has an extensive vocabulary- far from the tiny sentences she started with.  Her little pigeon toed walk isn't slow... Kate's long legs now stretch out into full out sprints as she chases her friends up and down the playground.  So many milestones...  I'm just not ready for this next one.  

I know I'll get over it and probably wax nostalgic at the same time next year about Kate leaving Kindergarten.  She and I will form new habits and traditions throughout the next year that I will cherish as much as I have all these preschool ones.  But it's just another tiny reminder that my baby is no longer a baby.  She is growing and changing into a little girl that I love more than I ever thought possible.  Love you Kate.  Here's to the number 6.  

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Hey Batta Batta Batta

Ironically enough- this post has absolutely no pictures of anyone batting.  Maybe I should change the title...  Nah.  

It is that time of year again and baseball season is in full swing around here.  It's great.  I love it.  Seriously... it's my favorite.  You'd think it would get old- sitting in the sun for three hours each night watching little boys throw around a ball.  But you would be wrong.  It's seriously my favorite.  I am SO glad that my boys seem to love it too.  

This post is mainly about Ty- because he's the one that had the game tonight and I happened to have my camera.  We'll get to the Bear next time- I promise.  

Ty is still one of the biggest ones on his team- and it's finally working to his advantage.  The kid can hit the crap out of the ball- and it seems his coaches have noticed.  He's always in the top 4 batters- though he LOVES it when he's assigned number 4- though who wouldn't want to be known as "clean up hitter"?  Kind of an ego boost if you will.  I have teased him for years about going after the "high ones", but he's made it work for him.  He gets on base almost every time- and most days it's because of a good long hit double.  See... here he is on 2nd base.  

He's playing more in the infield these days too.  You'll usually find him at 2nd base, shortstop or catcher.  Once in a while he's in at pitcher.

 It makes me giggle a little bit every time he puts on his baseball pants.  I bought him both the short and long pants this year- but he loves his shorties.  He's the only one that wears them that way- so I questioned him on it.  He told me he wears them that way because that's how the Babe wore them.  I just have to smile.  Ty is who he is- and it doesn't bother him to be a little different.

Kickin' off Summer right!

We got cats.  Mostly because I hate mice and my poison traps weren't always working.  My new idea was to stop the mice BEFORE they even got in the house.  Enter cats.  I haven't always been the biggest fan of any cat- mostly because they were well... cats.  But my neighbor's cat had kittens and she offered me two.  

So I took her up on it.  And I have to say... kittens are WAY cuter than cats.  I may even be coming around on the whole idea.  I picked the two liveliest kitties and brought them home for the kids to name... because- well- why not?  Kate chose to name the little calico looking one Ray, and the boys landed quickly on Vader for the little black and white one.  Shocker right?  Both are from Star Wars.  It's about par for the course around here.   

We also broke out the swimming suits yesterday for the first time and turned on the sprinklers.  My sister in law took her kids to Lagoon to kick off the summer... I figure if I keep expectations low to begin with- then when we go for snow cones I'm a freakin' hero right?  This is my entire parenting strategy.  I've now given away my secrets and my children will insist later that I pay for their therapy.

It kills me that in every one of these Kate is in the back flinching or crying because the water hit her.  I'm not entirely sure what she was expecting when the boys wanted to run through the sprinklers...

Regardless... here's to summer 2016.  May it be warm and sunny for all of us!