Monday, March 20, 2017

Chasing the Heat

Jeff and I were heartbroken upon realizing our annual spring St. George vacation probably wasn't going to happen this year. Jeff got a new job so he no longer gets a free week off work after busy season in the middle of April, which is when we usually go, plus I'll be 9 months pregnant in the middle of April, so it seemed as though it wouldn't happen this year. 

But our hearts were aching for it and upon realizing our opportunity to experience our favorite spring trip was slipping away, we made a few very last minute plans, pulled Eli out of a day of school, scurried down to St. George, and enjoyed the heavenly 70-degree weather. Best decision we've ever made. 
First stop was the children's museum. A family favorite!
Jeff and I spent at least a half hour looking through these vacation pictures and laughing hysterically at the various faces of Carson Excell. He's always got a new look to give the camera, so appreciate the faces he pulls because he puts a lot of thought and effort into his facial contortions. 

The Cox Crew had plans to be in St. George the same weekend we skipped town, so we made a party of it! Eli and Carson picked up a few Minecraft tips from the Minecraft Master, Tyler. 
We found an awesome new park that has officially made it onto the must-do list every time we're in town. 
Behind Jeff is a volcano that "erupts" every 30-45 minutes. If you recall, Carson is obsessed with volcanoes. When it came time for it to erupt, Carson plopped himself down on the ground and watched in awe as steam emerged from the top of the volcano. He was a little disappointed the show didn't include hot lava. 

Lincoln was a little slow to warm up to the park, but he eventually started wandering around with me. While we were exploring the volcano, there was a little opening where Lincoln caught a glimpse of a train through the trees and across a field. 

He FREAKED out. He immediately forgot all about the slide he was about to conquer and ran over to the train, screaming "TRAIN!" on repeat until we found it. Yes. The park has a little train that circles the park, and Lincoln WAS NOT going to let us leave without experiencing it. I've never seen him so excited. 
We rounded everyone up for the ride. 

And it's just occurring to me I didn't even get a good shot of Linker on the highly anticipated attraction. :( His ear says it all. 
Lincoln loved the train ride. Every night we ask the boys what their favorite part of the day was. It's now been weeks since we went to this park, but every night at dinner Lincoln says, "Train Park" as the highlight of his day. Best day of his life right there. 

The faces of Carson:
On Saturday afternoon we hit up another St. George must-do: Pioneer Park!
The weather was perfect. The boys had snacks and water in the car on the way over, so we opted to leave our water bottles in the car for our hike. Carson became thirsty mid-hike and began eyeing the water bottles Laura was holding. Laura very graciously shared some of her water with Carson. 
Carson found a little arch he was very proud of and then found the big arch with the other kids. We also wandered over to this big radio screen thing where we ended our hike.
When we got home, Carson eagerly drew a picture to depict the day's adventure. Things to note: The 2 arches he found, a biker he saw, the big screen thing we ended, the Yukon parked down at the bottom, everyone who was on the hike, including Laura, holding her water bottle on her hip that he was ever so grateful for. 
We still had enough time for one more adventure on Saturday. My friend had told me about Glitter Mountain right after we got back from our last St. George trip, so I've been anxious to check it out for a while. We decided to give it a try. 
From what I understand it's an old mine of sorts? When you pull up to it, you see these two hills that sparkle and then it dips down into an area where you can mine for clear, sparkly rocks. 
Eli was super skeptical of going to a place with a name like Glitter Mountain. He was playing it cool the whole way there telling us it was going to be dumb and that he was going to stay in the car. As we approached, his interest grew. When he saw people hammering away at the wall and someone carrying around a pickaxe, it was like Minecraft come to life and he was all about it. Two minutes in, he was yelling in frustration that we didn't think to bring a pickaxe or even a hammer for that matter! Luckily we found another all boy family there with an extra hammer that they let us borrow. 

Carson and Jeff admiring their loot. 
Lincoln and I preferred to find the rocks that were already mined for us all over the ground. 

If your kids like Minecraft, they'll love Glitter Mountain!
We closed our trip with a visit to the St. George Temple where we asked someone to take our picture and we got this. 
"Do you want a close up too?" He asked. "Yeah!" I responded. That was this one. 

The boys found the lights that shine on the temple and pretended they were tablets for a good while. 
Eli's got the right idea. 

Eli climbed to touch the doors of the temple, turned around, saw the American flag flying in the air, and his patriotism overcame him as he took a moment to recite The Pledge of Allegiance. 
This is Carson's superhero pose. It's his go-to. 
"Let's get a brother picture!" I said right before this picture was taken. Upon seeing what the brothers were offering us, Jeff and I looked at each other and said, "Yeah, that's about right." This perfectly sums up who these little dudes are. Note Eli's "cuties" perched on each shoulder, Lincoln ripping a budding flower off the temple grounds, and Carson in full character giving it his all. Love these little buggers.
I'm so glad we snuck away! I always love the memories we make in St. George and it was another fabulous spring trip!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Times My Kids Were Extra Cute

A scene plays out every morning which is: everyone very specifically demands what color bowl they need their cereal in--> what type of cereal to eat --> what cereal box they want to look at (usually different than the one they're eating) and then after everyone is fed and the hangriness is gone, they all make their way over to the fire for a post-breakfast warm up. 

I acknowledge the post-breakfast warm up might be avoided should certain children properly dress for the season, but my morning lectures have done nothing to convince Eli to dress accordingly. Oy vey. 
Carson, Carson, Carson. Everything he draws and/or writes warms the inner chambers of my mommy heart. Here we have his birthday list that he's been diligently working on for the last 2 weeks. On it you will find a "buzz saw," Lego Batman with a robber, "Turning 5 Birthday List," mini-figure of some sort (he had help spelling mini-figure), an emoji thinking about another emoji, "Lego Glowy Robot," two stuffed animals, and a "MineCraft Lego set." The detail! The spelling! The gift preferences! I love it all. 
Carson's gotten really into skeletons. Favorite here is the detail in the hip bone. 
I recently came to the realization that we have started spending a lot more time in the car now that we're getting into the school years and involved in a few after school activities. We used to just listen to the radio, but Carson loves music and I started noticing he was picking up on all the songs we were hearing day after day on the radio, and some of them weren't the best lyrics for little ears. 

I decided to better utilize our car time by buying a few church CDs, and while doing so, I remembered one of my favorite childhood artists: Veggie Tales. I found a great deal on some Veggie Tales CDs and Carson was instantly in love. The minute we're in the car, he's asking me to turn up the music and we've all enjoyed sharing and singing the songs together. 

On the first day I put a CD with primary songs in, Eli said, "I like this music. It's better than the gunky music we were listening to." I was grateful for the inspiration to better utilize our car time as the more uplifting music has made us all happier and provoked adorable pictures like this (again from Carson). 
Here's an astronaut Carson drew. I think I love his artistry because I am so unskilled in drawing that I'm amazed at how well he can already depict his ideas on paper. 
Here's a fire truck and policeman going after a bank robber. All the commotion scared a bird out of the tree. Adorable!
Eli's friend was over one afternoon and Eli was explaining to him how to work the ice dispenser on our fridge. He got to this button and said, "This is the little samples button." His friend fully accepted his explanation and now every friend that comes over refers to crushed ice from our fridge as "little samples."
Our favorite day is the day The Lego Magazine arrives. Everyone is occupied for the whole evening. 
Fear not, we also give The Friend the attention it deserves on the day it arrives. 

Salt Lake Staycation

Jeff's sister came to visit us over Jeff's birthday so we hit the town. 
We went to The Clark Planetarium which is my new favorite place. Unless we snuck in without paying, like I'm still convinced we may have done, all the exhibits are free! It seemed too good to be true! The kids loved it and we spent a good couple of hours there. 
(Lincoln loved it more than he's letting on.)
We faced one of my biggest parenting anxieties and rode the train while we were in Salt Lake. Let's just say Carson's a little in he swiftly and without warning will dart away from us for no apparent reason, so the thought of willingly standing next to train tracks waiting for a train to arrive with our squirrel-like child nearly gave me hives. But alas, we all survived and Carson was a great listener. Maybe we can venture out into the big city again sometime. 
Post-church Sunday Snapchat Selfies = a must. 
Pre-church Little Lad Lego Lounging equally a must. 
We spent Saturday at a park, killing time until our main event of the day -- going to see Moana at the dollar theater. 

Little did we know the dollar theater would have a 3-block line to see the movie and we'd end up at Boondocks playing laser tag and arcade games instead. We had so much fun doing Plan B I forgot to take a picture. 
I also forgot to take a picture of Jeff on his birthday! It was fun to celebrate with family and to have some company!