Sunday, January 21, 2018

*Almost* Christmas in *Almost* Dixie

We hopped from one set of grandparents over to the next as we drove from California straight to Cedar City to make it in time for David and Mary's first post-mission Christmas Tea & Recital. 

Me: Smile boys!
Boys: Wise men don't smile.
Here's Lincoln breaking stereotypes one smile at a time.

We had to spend some time out in the snow to convince ourselves it was Christmas weekend. This seemed like the best way to do it.
We went to Cafe Rio for lunch where we ran into the man who started it all...our old bishop from the singles ward where Jeff and I met. What a treat for him to get to see the many fruits of his labor in the form of adolescent boys disrupting the dining experience of the large majority of the diners. I can't help it that in my kids' boredom they imagination-ed the floor into hot lava and began jumping from chair to chair and/or table. That had to go unnoticed as we had some reminiscing to do with our marriage's #1 fan.
Kaelynn's always willing to take a baby or two off my hands for me. Jonah is equally as excited about the exchange.
Mary and Jonah being Christmas color buddies.
We had a lovely Christmas Tea & Recital which was underwhelmingly documented. Aka I didn't take a single picture due to above-mentioned baby filling my hands. But to make you feel like you were there, imagine Jeff telling hilarious jokes, me reading a few 3-liner poems, Carson and Eli displaying Mario-themed coloring pages, Jonah being lured into crawling across the room by a cell phone, and Lincoln showcasing his new ability to stay up all day without a nap (translate: he was crashed in bed before the recital portion of the evening even began).
We are so glad we were able to make it to all the Excell Christmas festivities!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Sandy Claus Part 2

Every morning in California after swarming my dad for french toast, the boys swarmed my mom for the daily Light the World video. 
My parents were busy on Tuesday, so we were on our own.
We hopped over to a children's museum for the morning.
Eli's favorite exhibit was this create-your-own ball track.
Carson took to organizing the play house area and then "invited me over to his house for dinner" while proudly showing me all the hard work he had done.

Lincoln loved the "flying napkins." You put those fabric pieces in at the bottom of the tube and then air shot them up out the top. This frequently resulted in the "flying napkins" falling on patrons' heads, which proved to be highly amusing for certain demographics.

Jeff and I were surprised to learn Eli can hula hoop?!?
Lincoln was surprised to learn he can create bubbles.
Jonah was surprised by all the free time I had to cuddle him.
We stayed just long enough to catch the chicken show. Warning to future chicken show attendees: The chicken show ends with employees nonchalantly putting dead worms in your kids' hands for the chickens to come and peck from. Bleh!
In what we thought was an alignment of fate, there was a cute little park right across from the children's museum. We got out, ran around, and quickly concluded fate had led us astray. Jeff witnessed a drug deal, swarms of homeless people became increasingly visible, including one group that began walking around the park shouting swear words just for the fun of it. That was when we scurried to the car and found a different park where we could enjoy the California December weather.

Taking the reigns from fate, Jeff led us to a nice, quiet park that we had all to ourselves for an hour and a half! It was just what we needed to make a full recovery from our previous park attempt.
That evening Abe's family joined us. Wynne put off going to bed to practice her spelling with Grandma. 
The morning brought another batch of french toast to energize all the little people for a day of adventure!
Last time Abe and Klarissa were visiting my parents they found this awesome slot canyon, and as soon as we saw pictures, it was moved to the top of our California must-do list. Our first excursion was to Annie's Canyon. 
Eli and Newland win Most Adventurous award for the day.
Jonah receives the Honorable Mention for the Most Adventurous award as he whole-heartedly trusted me to shimmy up the canyon while he bravely dangled from my belly. There were scratches. There was squeezing. And there were a few emergency hoists from behind, but we made it through *practically unharmed.*

Shout-out to my hoister.
Carson also made it to the top, but took the opportunity while we were gathering for a picture to expertly run away from us.
As soon as I made it through the loop the first time, I was anxious to try it again without a baby. We tagged Jonah out for my Dad and did round 2.

As soon as we made it to the top a second time, these two were ready to go a third.
In an effort to consider myself fully worked-out for the day, I agreed to make the trek a third time with Newland and Eli. I think we have a new favorite hike!
Bless my mom for finding a way to keep Carson in eyesight.
Whenever we needed to take a moment to wait for the second half of the group along our hike, plopping in the sandy dirt was non-negotiable.
Even Jonah loved the outing!

That evening we treated the boys to their California must-do by making a stop at Chuck-E-Cheese's.

Easily the best moment of Jonah's life right here:

Sometimes you win at ski-ball by simply making sure you don't hit the person next to you with a hard, heavy ball.
Pizza break!

For the first time in their existence without being asked, all the boys ran up to my dad as soon as they got home and, with much enthusiasm, repeatedly said, "Thank you so much, Grandpa! That was the best thing I've ever done. That was so fun!" While they showed him all the things they won.
Perhaps Jonah was overstimulated from the best day of his life, or maybe he just knew he'd get a Grandpa snuggle if he fought going to bed, either way, he weaseled his way downstairs after the other boys were in bed and found a friend to rock him to sleep.
The next morning we headed out. Stopping on our way home at "Seven Mountains" in Nevada.
Until next time, California.