Days 2013

Days 2013

Friday, August 29, 2014

Macy J, Kintygardner.

Now that I'm on my 4th Kindergartener, I've got a few things figured out. 
Pink Blank may or may not have attempted to stowaway.

Macy's first day of kindergarten.

Macy and Luke are ready to wait for the bus.

1.  ALWAYS wear big dark sunglasses to the bus stop on the first day of school for when your "umbilical cord starts hurting" as my husband so delicately put it.  Oh, I sobbed and sobbed.
Walking to the bus stop

2.  Step up your game when school starts.  I've been up earlier, gotten hair pretties organized on the bathroom wall and in the drawer, and had meals a little more on time and a more substantial breakfast for those who won't be getting a morning snack.  This morning, however, Macy had to roust me (I was cuddling Luke).  She had been up already with Mark.  He had given her rice krispies for breakfast, with sprinkles, but now the sprinkles were all gone, she wanted some more but there were too many things with red lids in the spice cupboard, and "hurry up because my cereal is getting RUSTY!"  (Soggy.)

3.  Definitely pay close attention to what your kindergarteners say because they are smart and getting smarter all the time.  Last weekend we had my cousin Katy and her husband Chris over for the first time since their wedding in April.  Macy was concerned that they didn't have any babies yet even though Mark assured her that these things take time.  Well, she still pestered Katy and Chris about it anyway.

"You know, when you have a baby, you won't even have to buy him anything because you can just use our stuff!  We've got lots of baby stuff."

Katy, who has long been acquainted with the talkative natures of my daughters, asked her what you do with babies.  Macy decided it was time to teach Katy and Chris a thing or two.

"I know all the things you have to do to take care of babies.  You feed them TWO bottles, and when they get older they can have baby food, but not hard things that they might choke on.  When the baby comes, you have to get this...crate (she wasn't sure of the word--after a bit we decided she was talking about a carrier car seat) to put the baby in and carry it around in.  And they have to sit backwards in the car so they don't get hurt, and you have to buckle them in so they don't fall out.  Babies need to have ONE nap a day.  (I gently corrected her and said that when babies are really little they might need two or three naps.)  Well, they can have ONE nap, but if they're REALLY buggin' ya, you can give'em two.  Sometimes, they have stinky diapers!!!  (Waiting for the shock to sink in--it didn't quite get the reaction she was hoping for.)  And if they're REALLY stinky, then you have ta WASH yer HANDS!!!!!"

Luke works up a sweat with some balloons.

I may have turned a little pink at that, but not as pink as Katy and Chris were about to.  We watched Luke
run around like a crazy man batting a balloon with another balloon.  He did this for about 15 minutes, when I finally realized he had been having so much fun he was totally sweaty and needed another bath.  Macy was trying to think of some games we could play, I guess, because when she looked at Luke, she remembered a fun round of Duck, Duck, Goose we had played a few months earlier, when Luke inadvertently drooled on everyone as Mark carried him around the circle. 

"Hey guys!  Have you ever played 'Slobber, Slobber, Goose?'"

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Clap Along...

Luke finally noticed the peace and quiet today right before lunch.  (Both of the boys and Leslie had their first day of school today.)  He tugged on me a bit and did a little dance while singing his new favorite word.  "Happy!"  I knew just what he meant.  He wasn't happy that the kids were gone, he just missed the loud music that plays ALL DAY LONG, particularly the Happy song.  So, I dished up lunch for him and for Macy and turned on the tunes of my own accord.  "Clap along...if you feel that happiness is the truth!"

We had a good last week of summer vacation.  I had grand plans to entertain them, but they really just wanted to play with each other and had a great time--lots of games, projects, etc.  It's a good thing, too, because the weather wasn't particularly cooperative for field trips anyway, and the one time I took them to Trafalga for mini-golf it was closed.  Lucky for us we'd had some great field trips the week before to downtown SLC and to also to our local water park (but I don't generally bring a camera to the pool, so...)
Both the boys wanted their picture taken with the Golden Eagle at the very beautiful Tracy Aviary.

Leslie has a thing for flamingos ever since she was one for Halloween.  It's the long legs, I think.

The kids in front of the Conference Center on Temple Square.  Luke is getting heavy.

Boston had fun toy fishing at the Book of Mormon Celabracion' for children exhibit.
Cooper and Luke had fun driving this jeep together.

Luke's first ever bite of cheeseburger.  I usually haven't given my little ones this age cheeseburgers because they'll just chuck it, but after he went down on those Sausage Muffins you made for the kids, Mom, it was worth a try.
And....guess who loves cheeseburgers!  He actually did eat about half of it.  And this smile he now does on demand; we call it his "Cheesy Face".
Luke and Cooper on Mars at the Clark Planetarium.

The moon-walk. 

The moon-walk came right before Luke's moon-trip and moon-goose egg on his big heavy noggin.  Darn gravity!  At least I remembered to put him in long pants or he would have also had skinned knees.
Boston on the moon.
We hiked through a downpour to get into the Planetarium, and when we came out the kids were spellbound by the flooding gutters.  This has been the wettest August I can ever remember.

Cooper and Macy take advantage of the puddles in the pea rows.

I was such a bad mom.  I let them play in the mud (okay) but then Mark and I left on a date and made Leslie clean them up.  Hope Mark paid her a tip!  Of course, maybe she enjoyed being sanctioned to hose down her brothers?
This must have been right before they painted the mud mural on the fence.  Even after all the buckets of  rain we've received, it is somehow still there.
Macy, Boston and Luke found a new, baby-worthy use for our Kubb game.  Luke got to knock them down with his stick.
Last weekend we did finally manage to squeeze in a family campout before school started, since we hadn't done that yet this year.  I did lots of research, looking around on the various websites about where to go.  I know that I hate camping with other people within earshot, but I also want to be able to find someplace fun, accessible, and child friendly.  We also wanted to be able to swing by Manti to show the kids the temple grounds because Mark's Grandpa Newel was a sealer (performed marriages) there for 16 years and lived across the street.  Anyway, I finally decided on the Huntington Canyon area and printed off a map that showed lots of possible campsites and fun hiking trail possibilities.

Once we barely (and I mean barely) squeezed into the van, with kids holding sleeping bags on laps, etc, and had reached the general vicinity, I started watching the road for the signs corresponding to the campsites on my map.  Closed.  Closed.  Closed.  (Don't know why--maybe there had been some flooding in the spring that ruined some areas?)  The kids were getting hungry.  Finally, we came upon a group site that was a little ways from the road with a nice pullout to park our van.  Also closed.  But with the van not easily seen from the road...and with all that space to play...and guarantee of no other campers...and the beautiful stream and cliffs.  Well, the gate wasn't even locked.  And as I told Mark several times, loudly, we are allowed to primitive camp anywhere on the public lands we dang well please.  (He kept mentioning the "federales").  We only used the firepit, so what was the harm?

It turned out pretty nice and Luke especially really loved throwing rocks into the creek.  Everyone slept pretty well, even Leslie, who had a pretty good-sized boulder under her sleeping bag.  The next morning, several of the kids woke up soaking wet from our tent dripping with condensation.  It hadn't rained, but I guess it was just really humid.  (Darcy, how the heck do you camp in Oregon?)  They were pretty ornery and in no mood to hike, etc., so we just packed up in a hurry and left after feeding them donuts and yogurt out of the van.
Luke saw this picture and shouted, "Hot Dogs!"  The creek is between us and the cliffs, there was quite a bit more depth to this picture than it shows here.
Luke LOVED pitching rocks into the creek...but he didn't want to find and pick them up himself.  Good thing he's spoiled.
Our van is parked between this big rock and the highway.
"Sleeping Beauty might be a stretch, mom.  How 'bout Sleeping Sister?"  Luke slept great and didn't make a peep all night.

We did decide to loop around and come home through a different canyon so that we could explore more of the state and also be able to come home through Manti.  Once again, my map was able to provide us with some adventure.  We came through Ferron Canyon, which was beautiful and rugged.  The dirt road was surprisingly well kept even though I cowered a bit up one very steep and narrow switchback.  Having survived that, when the road started to get a little bumpy, we decided to take what looked like a major road, hopefully paved, as a shortcut to Manti.  I think it was called Skyline Drive.  Well, we definitely found the sign, even the road number, but it looked a bit questionable.  Mark, feeling intrepid, decided to go for it, hoping that it would get better after a little ways.  Well, it didn't.  Super narrow dirt road with the edges crumbling off down the steep dropoffs of switchbacks.  Lots of potholes, etc.  Then, we came around a switchback and were suddenly driving the very top ridge of the mountain with BOTH edges of the road crumbling off into nothingness.  Cooper started howling.  (He was voicing our common emotion.)  We drove a few more yards and then gasped as we saw a four-wheeler up ahead of us, zooming around the edge of an even higher cliff, on a very rough road that looked about four feet wide.  Our road.  My arm shot out to grab Mark and I declared a very definite NO.  Skyline Drive indeed--didn't realize it was a literal term.  I think someone forgot to put that it was only for four-wheelers, not Dodge Yaks.  I got out and luckily, where we stopped there was a gradual slope on one side where we could have a few extra feet to turn around with me directing the back of the van.  I've never high-centered on the very top of a mountain before and don't intend to.  Ever.  I really should have taken a picture when that four-wheeler illuminated our precarious situation, but I was too terrified to think about preserving the moment for posterity at the time.
This was a ways after we turned around.  I wish I would have taken a picture of where the road got so narrow on the Skyline.

Some of the view on our way back down, looking east toward Ferron.  There were several lakes and I don't remember which one this was. 
We went the regular way instead and even made it to Manti by lunch.  The brakes didn't smell very good but other than that, the Yak will live to see another day.
All the kids loved trying to run up the hill.  We're surprised that Luke didn't topple end over end with that big noggin of his.  It's much steeper than it looks in this picture.  This is also the site of the annual Manti pageant, but we haven't been adventurous enough to bring our children to that, yet.
Cooper is chillin' at our picnic.
I like this picture because Luke and Leslie here are showing us some proportion.  The temple is MASSIVE.

This picture was planned.  Mark's family has a favorite (or should I say infamous) family picture in front of the Manti Temple in about this same spot, right across the street from his Grandpa Day's house (only his family was right on the lawn--my fault, I was avoiding the power lines).  Let's check the comparison!  (See, we even tried to make it as memorable, being in our stinky camping clothes and all, but I just don't think the fashions quite measure up!  Especially you, Mark.  Where has sense of style gone?)
Back Row:  Dwight, JoAnn, Paul.  Front Row:  Sharon, DeAnn, Kathy, Mark.
Macy wanted her own picture in front of the temple.  She thought it was beautiful.
Luke also wanted his own picture taken.  Awww.
Mark's Grandma Melva and Grandpa Newel, sometime in the 70's.
Mark's Step-Grandma Lucy and Grandpa Newel, probably in the 80's.  Melva and Lucy were sisters.  (When Macy read this caption, she got a funny look on her face and said, "That's kinda silly!"  Then she asked, "were both of your grandpas brothers?")
Tonight Cooper shared a magical moment from the first day of school.  "Dad, let me tell you a lucky story."  (Whatever that means.)  "Today when I got on the bus after school, I said, 'Hey Boston'.  He said, 'You can sit right here if you want.'  So I sat down.  Then he said, 'You don't have to sit right there, sit somewhere else.'  Okay?...So I moved to the seat behind him.  Then, when I peeked over the seat, I saw him say, 'Hi Addy.  You can sit here if you want to.'  She said okay.  Then, when I looked again, Boston had been sitting all the way by the window and Addy was just on the edge of the seat, but Boston scooted over a little!"

We laughed pretty hard and Boston caught lots of flak about being a ladies' man.  Addy was in his class last year and I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual.  She was excited to come over once this summer on a babysitting co-op exchange and she and Boston caught grasshoppers the whole time.  We even were friends with her parents when Boss and Addy were babies--maybe it's fate!

Cooper has been pretty nervous about school.  He didn't want to go and was complaining plenty the night before the first day, mostly something about that he wouldn't get to play football all day or work on his projects (his latest craze has been writing down every BYU football anyone can name in a notebook.  That includes pestering random people that come to our house--he'll ask them if they know the names of any BYU football players.  He's only asked me about eight times and I can usually only think of Steve Young, thanks to a pretty gorgeous got-milk ad that hung in my high school locker and on my wall at BYU.  Mark made me get rid of it when we were engaged, along with my Sean Connery/James Bond calendar.)  Anyway, I was expecting that the nervousness would go away after the first day, but he came home a little disturbed.

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Apparently, the teacher, who seems very nice, etc., has a behavior chart on the wall with all the kids' names.  If they break the rules "even accidentally!" exclaimed Cooper, the clip with their names gets moved down.  If it gets moved down enough times they have to go to the principal's office!  I guess one kid had his name moved down twice because he "accidentally made a mistake" and Cooper thought that was just atrocious.  "What if I accidentally don't know a rule and then I get in big trouble???"  I think he was up in the night about it.  He was still nervous after the second day and declared that he didn't like school because of this behavior thing.  (This from my kid who is such a sweetheart and never gets in trouble, etc.  The only sense I can make of his thinking is that for him, the worst thing in the entire WORLD is to be falsely accused.  Nothing makes him more upset.)  On day three we practiced saying out loud, repeat after me, "If my clip gets moved's NO BIG DEAL!"  Finally, after four days of school, he walked through the door with a huge pink Gerber daisy and a smile.  He said that his clip got moved up to "Excellent Effort" and that any kids whose clips got moved up got to take a flower from their teacher's bouquet home to their Mom.  Nice. 
Leslie, first day of 8th Grade.
Boston, first day of 3rd grade.  He had been bugging me for 45 minutes to go out to the bus stop and was mad that it was finally time to go but I had to take a picture.  Plus it was starting to rain.
Cooper, first day of 2nd Grade.
The boys were a little bugged that we couldn't find another umbrella (Leslie had already taken the good one...but they wouldn't have wanted a purple umbrella anyway!)  It never rains the first day of school!!  This is the desert! I also found it rather ironic that this year the name of their bus is the "Umbrella Bus".
Waiting for the Umbrella Bus.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Whole Famdamily and some Curious Green Bananas

Well, this summer is going a little smoother than last summer when it took me about a month to adjust to having five kids at home all day every day.  We have a pretty good chore routine, etc., in the morning.  Unfortunately I spend all morning directing chores and finally get to my own stuff later--with much interruption.  Oh well.  It's more important that the kids learn to work than it is for my own bed to get made every day.  Here are some pictures to prove that we also have done some playing.

Luke decides summer is pretty sweet.

She loved the magical Rainbow in her pose here.

Macy entertained herself by doing "Mermaid Poses" and making me take pictures of them.

Leslie wanted to remind her of the True Mermaid Pose.  (Ariel.)

All that playing with the big kids wore this little tyke out.  Nothin' like a warm fluffy towel.  And I dont' even use Gain!

Leslie had a fun second year of Girls' Camp experience with good friends and good weather, just thought I'd post some of her pictures here.

They got to ride a bus up.  This is quite early in the morning.

They stayed in large cabins with plywood bunks.  There was more than one bunkroom per cabin.

They had a log and ropes course of different team building games.  In this one they had to get the girls from one end to the other without falling off.  Everyone was teasing Leslie for being the tallest and on the end.

 I think this may be a "yay, no brothers!" face.

While Leslie was at Girls' Camp, my brother and his cute wiffy were so kind as to take my two older hooligans up to Montana early for Haynes Cousin Camp.  They (Boston and Cooper, my Mom and Dad, my brothers with their families, my sister Darcy's family, my Aunt Kelly with her family) went on an adventurous 15 mile bike ride on the Hiawatha Trail near Missoula.  The trail goes through miles of tunnel, necessitating some fun headlamp action. I think most of it is downhill, making it doable for kids.  A bus brought the whole group back with their bikes.  Wish we could have made it.
Love this one with Dad and his boys.   Minus Luke and Jett.  Addy making a strong showing for the girls.

Jaxon, Cooper and Boston.
The boys also made it to the lake without us.  Twice.
What other Grandma tells stories and also sleeps out in the tent with her grandkids?  All Week Long?
While the boys and Leslie were gone, I took Luke to the sitter's so Macy and I could have a trip to Seven Peaks Water Park all to ourselves.  (It was fun but also gave her something to brag about to her spoiled brothers.)  Finally Leslie joined us, missing her last day at camp, and we had a strangely peaceful nine hour drive to Montana for the 4th of July festivities.  It was the first time my siblings and their spouses have all been together, and the first time in seven years for an extended family picture.  Pretty fun.  The weather was great, and my parents did a fabulous job keeping us all entertained with a bounce house, 40-wheeling, water guns, volleyball and badminton, archery, slip n' slides, rockets, hunting gophers, fireworks, WWII family artifact evening, parades, fishing, boating, tubing, campfires, visiting with friends and relatives. And lots of eating. Sheesh, if we'd packed that much fun into a few days when I was growing up, I might have decided to never grow up!  I guess there were a few uninvited mosquitoes.  And I don't know how many times the dishwasher ran.  Oh, and in Montana, a lot of people don't have air conditioners because you only need them in...July.  Maybe that's why mom liked sleeping in the tent!  Mark, Luke, Macy and I slept in a very comfortable camper that was nice and quiet for Lukey's (and my) naps.  Thanks to the Giles' family for that.  It was also very beautiful, as usual, but for some reason this time I kept noticing how vibrant all the colors were.  Maybe because usually we come in August and things are a little dryer and browner by then.  Boston and I saw a marvelous sunset out on a walk, we'd go forward for five steps or so, then turn around and notice how much it had changed in that short of a time.

The boys even had fun just sitting on the 4-wheelers.  A lot.

I think these two will get closer and closer as they age.

I don't think anyone was impaled.

I taught Macy what every little girl should know--how to suck the nectar from a honeysuckle (columbine).

My no-longer-single brother.  Thanks, Natalie, for making my sibling family complete!

Even Leslie quite enjoyed the bounce house.
Papa got a belated Father's day gift from Utah.
Vollebyball.  And I love that Macy in the swing is center stage.

We get along so well when we're well fed!
Roasting marshmallows with my namesake (I guess I'm his namesake...) Happy Jack.  Grandpa's pretending he has Pepsi.  Either that or he was too smart to put down his water cup with all the tinies all over the place to steal it or spill it.

Ah, the snake fireworks.  Nostalgic, but we didn't remember them being so hard to light and I think Jake finally threw them all in the fire.  That was entertaining.
Happy Jack with some of his greats.  And a little smoke, sorry Dylan.

Good cookin, Good Lookin!

Two girls with a view.

Sparklers.  Also nostalgic.  Although I think we should have spread the kids out a little here.
Watching Duke's firework show.
The Japanese blade, captured by my Dad's Uncle Harry Van De Riet, Jr. in WWII.

Dad's sister Margie.

I LOVE this picture.  Harry and the Tough Guys!

Oh, and there were a couple of very patient dogs to play catch with.  We like Other People's Dogs.
Up again this year, singing the Old Gray Mare.

Macy (center) is enjoying our family's "private" lake, Willow Creek Reservoir. I kept mispronouncing it Willow CrEEK instead of the more correct Willow CrICK because that is also the name of Leslie's Junior High. 
My sister-in-law Rachel is Champion Auntie for building rockets with the kids.  I think all I did was take naps in the camper with Luke and wash a few dishes.  I guess I did make some brownies at one point, right kids, heh heh? 
We survived the family picture. 

And then all the grownups peeled out in their cars, speeding toward the Canadian border as fast as humanly possible.  (Insert Evil Laugh Here.)  Love Dad's face in this picture, right in the center.  There is another variation of this shot where Dylan is slapping the baby instead of sticking his finger in his ear, as shown.  No lie.  Hilarious.
Love you guys!  And also love how this picture makes Brooke (nearly six feet) look short.  That's what brothers are for, right, Brooke?  Look how good you all turned out since I was the oldest and set such a stellar example!!!!  You're very welcome.
   PS.  On our drive home, just after reaching the highway, Boston saw a farmer irrigating out in the field.  "Oh look!" he says.  "There's Grandpa, out irritating!" 

The first week we were home we got toilet-papered.  The first one was a little one roll job, fessed up by the young men.  Before we discovered the culprits, Mark (not-your-smartest move ever honey) sent a text to some friends that he thought had done the deed, and that it was a pretty pathetic job of it.  They hadn't done it, but apparently it egged them on.  A whole team (including members of my BOOK CLUB that I publicly acknowledged on facebook as being obviously innocent!!!  This means YOU DeAnn break-no-rules Kettenring!) did this  "wonderful" job a few days later.  Mark was not even home to appreciate it, being in Park City on his annual fellas weekend with his high school buddies and their sons.  Thanks to Leslie and Steve our next door, innocent but not unaware neighbor, for cleaning it up for me.

The yellow on the side is a poster of a minion from Despicable Me.  That was a clue, I guess, that Mark understood.

Macy thought it was crazy, Luke kept pointing and saying, "Uh Oh!  Uh Oh!"

 After all that work and a week at home under our belt, we decided to take a break and spend the evening at our favorite Dry Creek park.  I love that we almost always have the place to ourselves.
The kids had fun catching water skeeters, etc., while Mark grilled and I pushed Luke in the swing.

Mark liked the idea of this outing because he could soak his sprained ankle (basketball) in the creek.

This was the first day his ankle turned purple, it was a pretty bad sprain, his first in a few years, although he has sprained this same ankle several times since our marriage, and once before on his mission in France, always playing basketball.  Maybe he should take up rugby and be on the safe side.

This park has several HUGE trees to play around, overturned and sideways.  Macy kept calling them her magic treehouse.

Boston takes it easy.
videoSummer has truly arrived.  The other night our bishop gave us some zucchini.  Luke was mystified by the new arrivals on the kitchen counter and brought one over to us after the other kids were in bed.  "Banana!" he declared.  That led to a pretty amusing argument that I'll close with here.