Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summery Summary

When your friend who is moving away asks if you want a free horse, you can't exactly say no. Especially when said horse "spurred" hours of "horsing around" for two little boys, and even accented their sense of caution as they decided on their own to don helmets for safety reasons. And that's how we got a springing nearly life-size rocking horse.
Lincoln has yet to take a ride on the saddle, but he's no stranger to his spaceship these days.
One blessed morning, I was getting ready while Lincoln was on my bed playing. I noticed he was slowly getting more quiet and by the time I was ready he had effortlessly put himself to sleep! Why can't it be that easy every time?!?
And while I'm getting ready for the day, a certain middle child is usually getting into some sort of mischief down in the kitchen -- either by getting into Lincoln's walker...
Or by getting into the peanut butter.
Here's the day I was certain the second Utah tornado of all time was preparing to touch down in my backyard. We've had some threatening thunderstorms this year! Which is why my neighbors have seen my silhouette lurking by our sliding glass door with a glass of root beer in the late evening, looking excited. And neighbors, even though I'm lookin' like a creeper in the window, the lighting is all I want to see flashing me, thank you very much.
Staring at the lightning has turned into my stress reliever after days, nay, weeks, nay MONTHS of trying to get a certain little someone to properly expose of his excrements. This is as close to success as we've gotten:
Come to find out, if you immerse your potty training child in nature, nature will finally call. Which is exactly the WRONG time for nature to call. When there is NO SIGN of a potty anywhere. Swell.
We've taken a turn for the outdoorsy. Well, by outdoorsy I mean we left air conditioning for 2 solid hours one evening, so that counts, right? We scaled a mountain in what proved to double as a homemade rendition of Fear Factor for me and made it to a campsite where we told our boys we were "camping."
Because everyone knows "camping" is when you go up the mountain and eat marshmallows for dinner and fight the urge to properly expose of your excrements for the first time, right? RIGHT?!? NO ONE TELL MY KIDS OTHERWISE!
They know nothing of tents or sleeping bags or starry skies and I'd like to keep it that way until their 12 years old and the scouting program can support their camping cravings. We like our camping in 2-hour chunks. See how outdoorsy we've gotten?!?
We couldn't room in with the bears overnight anyway, because we had to meet up with Jeff's parents the next day. They just left to serve a mission in Canada and we were so glad they were able to sneak away for a little bit to say goodbye to us.
I can't help but think of the three future missionaries I hope to have one day, and I've been trying to think of ways to help establish a desire in them to serve a mission. I keep having the strong impression that my boys seeing Jeff's parents be on a mission will help them gain an interest in serving a mission which makes it a little easier to say goodbye to them for two years.
I'm so grateful for their example and I can't wait to hear about all the amazing things they will get to be a part of.

And luckily we will be able to Skype them and talk to them on the phone, so they can still see Eli and Carson doing goofy things like the day they decided to draw mustaches and beards all over their faces (thankfully with washable markers).
If I don't have a lightning storm to stare at, dinner with my friends is a pretty good way to unwind, too.
One day Eli was doing a puzzle and Carson sat down next to him, attempting to do a different puzzle with much frustration. Carson kept whining to Eli, begging Eli to help. Eli kept ignoring Carson, completely focused on assembling his own puzzle. Finally Eli distractedly said, "Carson. Just say a get help... ... ... ... from Jesus."

I loved that he used his gospel knowledge to attempt to get out of having to help his little brother do a puzzle. And I love that he specified at the end that the prayer should include his help coming from Jesus and NOT from Eli.
That same day, Eli got on a Christmas kick. He started rambling all these things to me that he wanted for Christmas and he could tell I wasn't really taking any of it to heart, so in an effort to get me to take him more seriously perhaps he created his first ever (picture) Christmas list. It worked, Eli. You got my attention because this tickled me pink.

Sunday, July 05, 2015


We've been celebrating our independence all week. For example, Lincoln discovered he's his own independent person when he found himself in the mirror for the first time. He found himself as cute as we do!
Eli gained some independence by learning how to ride his bike without training wheels!
Once before -- probably at the end of last summer -- we had Eli try riding without his training wheels but it didn't take. Then all of a sudden, out of no where, Eli was convinced he was ready to attempt training wheel-less bike riding. In fact, it was so sudden and urgent and he was so persuasive that we all charged outside without any shoes on or protective equipment to see if Eli was correct in his assumption that he was instantly prepared for a future of two wheels.
(Yes they're wearing matching t-shirts. More to come on that in a minute.)
Eli literally only needed two pushes and he was off. No teetering. No shakey front wheel. No nothin' but smooth sailing. And no shoes. Or helmet. I know. I KNOW. My instagram friends have already pointed out my parental carelessness. But I'm telling you, we expected one failed attempt to balance on two wheels and then figured he'd be done. Plus I think the lack of safety precautions helped motivate him to stay upright lest he tip over and scrape his foot on the lava hot pavement. So I actually WAS being a good, mindful parent in my careless methods...QUIT JUDGING ME! :)
We enjoyed a little solitude in the mountains before our big night of fireworks on July 3rd. My plan was to completely exhaust the kids on a strenuous hike and then drive down to Bountiful in the early afternoon to lull the kids into a peaceful, midday nap so they'd be fresh and happy to stay up until 11:00 that night.

Half of our plan worked. The part where we exhausted the kids. Unfortunately they were too giddy with anticipation for the fireworks on the way down to grandma's house that they never did doze off. I was anxious to see how two exhausted boys would handle staying up three hours past their bedtime! *horror movie shriek*
This hike was up Cold Water Canyon. We loved it! Well. I guess there was that one time when a hiker passed us and gave us this exchange:
Hiker: "I just saw a snake about 100 yards up there slither across the trail."
Jeff: "Oh. Okay."
Hiker: "Yeah, so just be careful."
Jeff: "It wasn't a rattlesnake, was it?"
Hiker: "It actually was."
Me: bug eyes, heavy breathing, color drains from face 
Hiker: "It was just a baby so you guys should be alright."
Us: "Thanks?" RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!

I graciously let Jeff take the lead from then on out as I hiked on tiptoes with high knees to limit exposure to snake-striking range. It's a wonder my love of hiking so frequently overrules my debilitating fear of mountain animals. *horror movie shriek*

We survived another hike without the need of antivenom so...yay for blessings. Eli and Jeff had a dam building competition when we reached some water -- and not just for the sake of hearing our 5-year old repeatedly say dam which I kept giggling at and then slapping myself on the wrist for acting like an immature 13-year old.

Eli proclaimed himself the winner because he had built his dam with a hammer. "What do you mean you built your dam with a hammer, Eli?" I asked with wonder. He proudly presented a hammer-shaped stick he had found, which was enough to convince me he was the best dam builder this side of the Cold Creek.
That evening, with only one boy who was mellow enough to nap for us, we made our way to the fireworks show!
Knowing we'd have a struggle ahead of us keeping the older two, inevitably crabby boys busy as we waited for dark to fall upon us, I scrambled to think of some kid-friendly entertainment. One of our favorite games to play as a family is called Left, Right, Center with chips and dice. We gave that a go once everyone was settled into our firework camp.
It did not hold the kids' attention quite like I hoped it would. It proved to be a game that's only fun when we're at home and the boys are so bored out of their minds that the game seems like the best thing ever. But when there are fireworks in the future to be excited about, glow sticks in bags mere inches away and skydivers plummeting to their near death, the boys proved to be entertained just by our surroundings and didn't need much extra help from me. Alrighty then! Excuse me while I veg out, children.

Lincoln was the easiest to keep busy.

Lincoln woke up just in time for the fireworks and stared silently wide-eyed at them for the full 20 minutes. Eli stared with a smiling open mouth for the full 20 minutes. And Carson repeatedly asked when it was time to go home while bobbing in and out of sleep for the full 20 minutes of the big show. One of my most favorite traditions of the whole year!
Eli has begun to develop his artistic side (with no help from me). One day he was painting and I went over to check out his work. I was shocked to see something recognizable! I could tell it was a lego and he further informed me that it was President Business from The Lego Movie. Ha! My favorite part is the "pincher hand" as he calls it on the left.
We'll end with an item where we are foregoing our independence by wearing MATCHING T-SHIRTS!! HEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOO Disneyland *cough* in two months *cough*!!!
I took the job of figuring out our matching t-shirts this year and I love, LOve, LOVE the way they turned out!

The one on the left is Lightning McQueen with a 15 on the lightning bolt for 2015 reunion.

Then we have "Everything Is Awesome!" for the day we go to Lego Land.

Light blue says "Our t-shirt synchronization can have but one explanation" with a picture of Olaf.

And the one on the right was a group effort. We had all the kids who could draw design one of the letters of "THOMAS" and it says:
Walt Disney Pictures Presents:
Family Reunion, Starring:
We all signed our names
Now Playing!

This was a six-month project (having a preemie baby didn't help my time frame as I was trying to get these done before I had Lincoln but I guess he wanted to be around to give his say). I'm so happy with how they turned out! Now I just cannot wait to be rockin' these matchy-matchies with the whole crew at Disney!