Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Happy Birthday to... RYAN!

I am going to admit something here.  I'm having a really hard time coming to grips with the fact that Ryan had a birthday yesterday.  And not just any birthday.  He turned 8!  Ryan can't be 8.  He's the little brother.  He's just a little menace.  A tease.  The pot-stirrer.  How can he be 8??

But it turns out... it happens even to the biggest of the little pills.  I am sitting here looking at these pictures and when I really look at them- I can see the growth in Ryan's face.  The changes his body has been making over the last year.  He's taller.  His teeth are finally coming in.  His (lack of) style choices.  I guess if you really look- Ryan is 8.  

Ryan's requests for his birthday were few and simple.  He wanted a new bike and he wanted to make his cake.  It took us ALL afternoon to make his cake.  He was VERY specific.  It had to be chocolate.  It had to have raspberries.  And it had to be layered.  It turned out delicious.

Ryan loves to help in the kitchen and surprises me with what he wants to put together sometimes.  Generally speaking it's usually in terms of dessert- when it comes to food- the kid just doesn't mess around.

To date Ryan loves:  baseball, messes, his brother, food and hugs.  He hates:  the Dodgers, blackberries and surprises.

We did come through for him on the bike- you can tell by his face that he is stoked!  And he got to pick out his own set of scriptures.  His first Quad and he was excited.  He sat down as soon as we got home with them and immediately started reading.  I was touched and again I had to admit that my baby boy is growing up.

Happy Birthday Ryan!  We love you!

And the Rocket's Red Glare

I love the 4th of July.  It's hot.  There is usually a BBQ.  Parade candy.  Fireworks.  And always a renewed respect for our Veterans and current military personnel who risk so much every day for our freedoms.  I just love it.  

We started our day with a parade in Albion (my kids have learned that ALL tootsie rolls belong to mom).  Gotta love a parade that is about 10 minutes long.  Long enough to get excited.  Short enough that mom and dad don't want to shoot themselves in the foot in order to get out of it.  Life is good right?

We spent our afternoon playing on the river with cousins- the boys loved playing on the boat and Kate loved jumping off the dock.  Personally- I was down with sitting in a lawn chair next to my sister in law... soaking up some rays and talking about nothing.

Our evening consisted of letting the kids light off some little fireworks- you know tanks, chickens, butterflies and smoke bombs.  Nothing too insane- but it lets Ty's inner pyro-maniac come out.

Kate hates it all and just sits on the side with her fingers in her ears whining for it to all be over.  She's a peach isn't she?

I couldn't even talk her into a damn sparkler.

Still though... I absolutely love these littles.  They are my whole world.

After dinner, we headed into Burley to the golf course.  We spread out our blankets and grandma brought glow sticks.  The boys quickly found buddies to play a quick game of football with.  And we waited for the show to begin.

Such a fun summer day- I love having my family to celebrate with!

Gettin' our swim on!

We have been spending our days at the pool... We're kinda regulars at this point.  But I SWORE when I had kids of my own that we would always be swimming.  So I'm attempting to live up to my 14 year old dream.  So far so good I think.  

Ty is a fish- he has always loved the water.  He has progressively gotten better each year and with each new round of swim lessons.  I thought about swim team this year- but the thought of driving him into town every morning at 6:30 kind of put the brakes on.  I know.  I'm a total wuss.  What can I say... I still hate mornings.  Maybe next year.  

Kate is just like Ty and lives for her time in the water.  She's getting pretty good too!  Her favorite part of the morning is when they strap on life jackets and jump off the diving board.  I think if her instructor would do this all day every day- she would be a happy camper!

Ryan is... well... Ryan.  I call him my reluctant fish.  He's not ever too excited about getting into the water- but now- halfway through the summer and 4 weeks of lessons later... he's actually kinda coming around on the idea.  He FINALLY passed his level 3 test (I seriously thought we were gonna be lifers there) and seems a little pumped about the new challenge in the level 4 class.  Maybe that was the secret... he was bored?  With Ry... who knows.  I'm just happy he's happy.

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!