Friday, April 27, 2012

Crazy Hat Day/Badminton/Friends Over

Leah played her badminton championship the other day. She was supposed to go to piano and she wasn't coming.  I ran in to find her and she was playing.  I still had to take Cora to piano and so I couldn't watch.  I knew that if Cora got right out on time I would have literally 5 min to go to my house, grab the camera, and race to the school.  I could do it if Cora got Blake ready for soccer and took him. She did get out in time and when I got to the school I had 90 seconds.  I ran to the gym and got there just as she was walking off the court after her last game.
I made her pose anyways.  We played on the side for a while, she was really quite good.  We had a great volley going.
Everyone got a medal again.  She learned a lot and really enjoyed badminton.
Yesterday at our school was crazy hat day.  I just let the kids do what ever they wanted to. Blake said he was a two headed zombie and Leah put lots of lace and flowers on a bonnet.
Cora has been wanting to have a big group of friends over for a long time.  We finally found a day that was open.  She had been wanting to play a few games that need lots of people.  We had them come over right after school.  We had lunch, beef dip, jello, carrots, and OJ.  After I sent them down to play games with a few different bowls of candy.  They spotted the dress-up clothes and had a blast with that.  It was so fun to listen to them and they had a great time together.  She has an awesome group of friends.  They don't  mind being silly and get along great.  They played with the barn for a bit and even Barbie's just for fun:)  I think they did actually get to the games the last few minutes.  Next time they will have to stay longer.

Thursday Natalie called me and told me that Old Navy was having a super sale.  Cora had gone through her closet and since she has grown 2 inches in the last 3 1/2 months.  Of course nothing fit.  She literally has 8 items of clothes in her room.  We didn't know how long the sale was going to last and how picked over it would be.  I looked at her school schedule and after lunch she had gym.  I decided to pull her.  I picked her up at school and didn't tell the teachers why, thought they might frown at me.  We did get great stuff.  Jeans for $2.50, shirts for between $1.50 - $6.00.  Awesome.  Cora has always wanted to go to the mall try on lots of clothes, put things on hold, have a snack, and then buy what we want.  This is how my mom took us when I was growing up. Saturday I said I would take her.  She still needs some dresses and shorts.  Those items weren't on sale.  But we had fun skipping school.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Soccer Has Begun

We signed Blake up for soccer again this year.  I am not sure this was the wisest move. He just loves to run with his friends, chat, and drink Gatorade on the blanket.  It is a little frustrating to watch when he doesn't seem to care.  I should probably go out and practice with him.

Usually with Southern Alberta soccer no matter how nice a day it is, during soccer you are freezing.  I am most likely zipped into a sleeping bag with my coat, sweater, hat, and gloves.  Wow!! Visions of my mom at football just flashed through my head. Last night actually stayed warm.  I didn't even need my sweater.  Sweet!!

He needs something to do that is his own and they don't have baseball here.  He is to young for basketball that is offered so so far soccer it is.  He seems to like going out and enjoys his coach and team mates.

I have been wanting to try starfruit for some time now.  I finally pick one up the other day.  I had to look up how to cut and eat it.  I really didn't know anything about it.  When all was said and done, no one liked it. But I was glad that every person at least tried it.  I told the kids know if they ever get asked if they like starfruit they can say, no thank you, instead of , I  have no idea:)

Cora has really improved in her grades this last report card.  She started struggling in school right from the beginning.  In Grade 3 we finally took her to Sylvan.  After almost a year we decided that the payments and driving all the time were way more than we could handle and she wasn't getting better.  She has been through many assessment tests at school. With lots of extra reading help and PAL programs. In Grade 6 she got better grades after they started giving her a reader and a writer for every test.  We knew the knowledge was there, she just couldn't get it out.  One of her teachers said she was like a artist, with so much creativity and so much color there was just a glass wall blocking the brush from the canvas.  Everyone kept telling me she was smart, which I already knew, they just didn't know what to do to help her. This year she started out doing better than ever before.  She was on the Honorable Mention Roll with a 77.4% average.  A guy at work told Dave about SuccessMaker and we signed her up for that.  Yesterday we got her report card home.  She now has an 81.4% average and is on the official Honor Roll.  We are so proud that she seems to have broken through that barrier and is accomplishing so much.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Final Easter Post

The first two days that I was gone the kids had to get themselves to and from school. (I left a camera with them).  Dave took right over and did a great job.  He did things that he has never done before, like contacting parents about parties and getting snacks for school.  I had said I would bring cupcakes for Leah's class Easter party, then my parents decided to leave a day early.  Cora and Leah ended up making them for school.  I dyed the coconut and made the icing before I left, Cora made the cupcakes and the girls put them together.  I think they did a great job.  Dave really enjoyed spending the one on one time with the kids, he took them swimming and just spent time with them that he doesn't usually get to.

It was Leah's birthday while I was away. I felt really bad about that.  She had a great birthday.  I left one special gift for Cora to hand her when she woke up.  A pair of pink butterfly earrings that she had wanted.

Dave took the kids out to eat at Tony Roma's.  Leah had a birthday certificate there. Cora has good photo ideas.  I really like this one in the glass:)

Cora had been on Pinterest with me and had seen a bunch of Easter place card ideas.  We called Grandma to see if she could make some for Easter dinner.  These are the one she chose to make.  We had a log out back that Dave cut and then she did the rest.

Cora and Amber did an Easter egg hunt for all the kids on Sunday.  Amber got the treats and my kids have been raving about them ever since.  I guess the amount of candy was 'awesome'.  They also went on another one at Amber's mom's house.  Her mom, Debbie, is great.  She has taken my kids swimming and on this hunt. Whenever my kids are at the farm she included them in whatever her grand kids are doing.

Sunday night the kids stayed at Myrna, since Dave had to be at work.  She kept them for the whole week and Dave picked them up Friday.  They had such a good time out there.  I know they played a lot and tried Zumba with Grandma.  Cora said she felt stupid because she couldn't do it, so she only stayed part way.  After Dave picked them up they went shopping and cleaned the house to get all ready for me to get home.  Thank you so much to Myrna and Dave for taking care of my kids.  They had so much fun and I did not worry about them at all.  I worried that they might be bugging people but not about there safety:)  Myrna read scriptures with my kids everyday.  Leah did FHE while she was out there.  Blake was so proud he kept telling me 'Grandma was so impressed with my scripture reading.  I know lots of big words.'  It was a wonderful Easter break all around.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Easter 3

One of the nights we were there we went to Provo to have dinner with the Salvesens.  (I may have not spelt that right) Dad baptized him on his mission and they have kept in contact since.  When we went to Africa years ago I remember meeting them there and they have been to our house also.  He is a really friendly, funny guy.  It was fun to listen to him and my dad remembering.  Thursday morning, we are now up to the 12th of April I have been gone 8 days, we stuffed our car full again.  It was so nice of the Gardner's to let us stay.  We had some time that morning so we made sure we washed the sheets and towels, vacuumed and so on.  Next it was back down to Orem for my Grandpa Smith's 90th birthday party.
My Grandpa didn't really remember me.  It was a little sad.  This is my Grandpa with all his children but my Uncle Max who wasn't able to come.  My Uncle Kevin is in the red.  I haven't seen him since I was about 12.  We sat in the front room with him and his wife and it was really fun. We talked about all sorts of stuff.  Right after the party we drove to Kita's house.  Every one keeps telling me it is a 5 hours drive but I swear that night it was 7.  Ryan was not happy to be in the car, it was late at night, and we were all tired.  When we FINALLY got there, Kita had dinner in the warmer and beds all ready.  Friday is when we did most of our shopping.  I love shopping with my sisters.  Correction:  I enjoy being with my sisters when they are shopping.:)  I got a couple pair of great shoes, and a few things for the kids.  Friday morning I played basketball with Kita.  They had 11 people show up.  It was so fun.  I wish I could play here, I really miss it.  On the way to the game she texted a friend to ask for a recipe.  When we got done she had gotten one back saying what the recipe was and that the ingredients were on her front porch.  Her friends do stuff like that all the time.  They are really great. Maybe I need to be a better friend.  Saturday Justin and Ty each had a baseball game.
Justin is the back catcher.  He has played on the All-Star team in Boise and is really good.
You can barely see Ty out there in the field but he did a great job also.  He is in the center with the orange writing.  Kita chauffeured Natalie and I around to some stores and then I finally tried the orange chicken from Cheesecake Factory.  I can see why it is a favorite of hers.  Soooo good.  Each morning Kita would make us the best smoothies.  She put great stuff in them that I had never thought about. Kale and apples.  Whole oranges and pears.  Yum yum!!
Here Brynn is jumping on the tramp.  She had her hair braided in two french braids.  This girl has so much hair it is crazy.  We were saying that is she could just give us 1/2 a braid it would double our hair and she wouldn't even miss it.  And the prettiest blonde colors you have seen.
It was time to pack up and go back home.  We had been gone a long time and fit in a ton of stuff.  Natalie's kids were ready to see there dad, and I missed my family.
Kita had about 10 pages left in the book she wanted to send home with Natalie, so she came and hung out with us as we packed.  We got up at 4:30 Sunday morning, stuffed that topper full for the last time and drove on home.  The boys were great again, and except for me having to pee on the side of the road,which is a whole other story,  it was a great trip home.  I had a great time and am very glad I went.  I did so many things that I had not been able to before or probably never will again.  I am glad my parents let me tag along, that Dave and Myrna watched my kids, and that we made it all safely.   When I got home Dave had a surprise for me.  He had added a bunch of shelves and organized our closet.  It looked so great.
And look I still have one shelf open.  I guess I better go buy more shoes;)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Easter Continues

After being on the road so long it was time to do some laundry.  I have always loved helping my grandma hang up and take in her laundry from the line.  Because of this I have plans for one if I ever build a house.  The day that we did our laundry I took mine and Natalie's jeans outside and hung them on the line.
One of my favorite memories in Vernal is sitting on this mushroom, that is what I always called it I don't know what Grandma called it, and watching my Grandpa Southam shave.  He had the neatest old shaver.  It was a small bowl type thing that had a brush that he would work the soap into bubbles and circle spread all over his face.  I would sit and watch him and talk to him every morning that we were there.
Everybody got a box with their name on it.  If Grandma wasn't taking something they would see who wanted it.  If a couple of people did, then their names would go in a bowl and they would draw for it.  I thought it was a really good system. 
One of the last nights there was a box of clothes that my mom and her sisters had made and worn while they were growing up.  I was so excited to sit and watch them go through that box.  The 'oh, I remember that' and 'did you wear that' was just as fun as I had hoped.  Crazy enough it is all back in style now and so Natalie and Katherine got a few new clothes.  They gave me some wacky dresses everyone thought Cora would like.
This is the Vernal Temple.  I have a picture of my Grandpa and Grandma Southam with Dave and I in this exact spot 13 1/2 years ago.  We went down just a couple of months before we got engaged.  Dave always loved my Grandpa Southam.
A better view from the back.  The sun is not glaring.
My mom often talked about the 'basement house' that she lived in for a while.  On Sunday we drove around Vernal.  Mom had a lot of pictures that she wanted me to take of places she remembers.  We went to the temple, my Great-Grandma Manwaring's, (This had changed so much it was sad.  The apple orchard is gone and the house isn't really being taken cared for.) We saw my Great-Grandma Southam's, my Grandpa's grave. (I didn't make it to the funeral, I had been there a couple month before he passed and wasn't able to go again so soon.) And I finally saw this basement house.  Doesn't that look like a great place.

Sunday my cousin Ben and his family made a special trip over to say good-bye to us.  We thought that was really nice.  I like his wife a lot and really wish that they would visit us in Canada.  But I do know how hard the trip is to make.  I would love to have Katherine come also, we had a great time with her.  The last morning we ran back to Grandma's to do a quick spruce up before we left.  Hanging in the laundry room were these three hats from my Grandpa.  Grandma let us each have one.  Aren't we pretty??  Remember we had been cleaning all morning.  
My Grandma Southam and I.
We then loaded up again and headed back to Provo to have lunch with Taylor and Kristin.  Dad had to literally climb on top of the car and pack this every time we loaded up.  With all the stuff in there it got pretty tight, but Dad managed every time.  Even after we had done some shopping:)
My mom loves Brick Oven.  We made it just in time for lunch.  We then ran a few errands for Natalie. Taylor is a realtor in the Salt Lake area which was really handy.  He knows all the short cuts and construction zones.  We just followed him around.
My Dad had heard of the building of the City Creek Mall in Salt Lake and wanted to go see it.  This thing was amazing.  Blocks wide with sky bridges, and a water park in the middle for the kids.  It lines right up with the temple.  You can see it inside the mall a couple of places.  It was all open and it was a beautiful day.  We started to wonder what they did in the winter, so mom asked.  They whole thing gets covered with glass and is heated.  It was amazing.  I got this shot of the Micheal Kors store for Cora.  She loved watching Project Runway.
After the mall we headed to the Gardner's home.  He was a missionary companion with my dad.  They were so very friendly and welcoming.  When they found out that we were going to load up our car and go from hotel to hotel the next couple of night they asked us to please stay there.  They were leaving and still didn't care if we stayed.  It was very nice of them and they had great toys for Natalie's boys.  We did a bit of shopping and I tried some restaurants that I had heard my family talk about.  Cafe Rio, very yummy, I defiantly want to go again.  And Texas Roadhouse, also very worth it.  We met up with Taylor and Kristin each day and it was nice to spend time with them.  Again to be continued......

Monday, April 16, 2012


My parents were going down to Vernal over the Easter holiday to clean and move my Grandma Southam from her home.  I haven't been to Vernal for 10 years. Since I didn't know if I would make it back again I invited myself along. Natalie felt the same as me and invited herself also. We fit a lot into the last 12 days.  I am going to break this Easter into a couple of posts.  Cora took our other camera and that will be a few posts also.
Here we are just starting out.  We met at Natalie's, it is the closest to the border, at 5 am on the 4th. (Which means I got up at 3:30 :0) Her kids are really great travelers.  They really entertained themselves just by looking out the window and a few books the entire trip.
The first night I got a hotel with my airmiles.  We went to Taylor's house first.  I had never seen his house, it was nice to do that.  Kristin made us a delicious dinner with the best dessert ever.  Taylor came back to the hotel with us and chatted for a bit while Natalie took the boys swimming.  The next morning we continued on to Vernal.
This is one of my favorite memories from going to Grandpa and Grandma Southam's.  I loved to just sit in the front room and listen to my mom and aunts talk.  They would have deep gospel discussions and light hearted chats.  So much laughter and love.
This is my Grandma's house.  It is a 15 hours drive from our house, my mom often did it alone with us 5 kids as dad had to stay and take care of the farm.  As soon as we turned down this last road we would always roll down the windows and start cheering.
Natalie and I stayed at our cousin Katherine's house while in Vernal.  She was so good to us.  I loved her house it was very warm and cozy and comfortable.  We had such a good time with her.  Katherine's husband Randan did all the evening meals so that the adults didn't have to stop and fix dinner.  He did a great job.  Here Ryan is 'helping' Grandma make the juice.
Grandma had the best food storage ever.  She really took to heart that council from the prophets.  I really think she had a 6 year supply of water.  Natalie said that Vernal was in a drought because Grandma had taken all the water.  We needed to haul it all out.  The decision was made that we were going to load into boxes, carry out to a trailer in the garage, and drive 20 feet to a big dumpster that was rented.  I thought loading into a trailer and driving to the dumpster was the craziest thing ever.  And being me I voiced that opinion.  After about a 1/2 hours I backtracked that thought aloud.  It was so much work.  We stood in an assembly line and handed everything up.  It went so fast and we laughed so hard.  I really love being with my aunts on my mom's side.  They are all very real.  What you see is what you get.  We would yell up 'keep', 'throw', 'so and so's, etc.  All the way up the line.
We loaded this trailer a couple of times.  The front person you see in the checker shirt is my Uncle Rod.  I didn't see him very often but he was always one of my favorite uncles.  I remember him taking me down to the 7-eleven and buying me Slurpee's.  Anytime he would spend with us was a blast.  It was really great to see him this weekend.
We just threw everything in.  A lot of breaking glass.  It was fun to go through Grandma's house with the siblings.  We weren't there for very much of it.  Katherine took us around to some cute store in Vernal and we did a little shopping.  I got great cowboy boots for Cora. We would show up in time to pull lunch out, eat, and clean up so they didn't have to stop.  Going down we knew we weren't there to do anything but clean and be back ground, but when we would sit and listen it was great to hear all the stories behind everything.  I guess the cousins did have a chance to go through one night after the siblings were done but we had already gone back to Katherine's house.
Here is the dirty hands result of decades worth of food storage.  They look a lot cleaner in the picture than they really where.  To be continued.....

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Delish Steak!!

Blake has been wanting steak for a while.  We finally filled the propane tank and thought they would be a great treat during conference.  I got the mushrooms just for Dave.  Nobody else likes them.  These potatoes are from my sister Makita and have become quite the staple in our house.  I told the kids today that I was going to call them our 'Secret Potatoes Recipe That We Stole from Aunt Makita'=)
If I would have had a fruit salad this would have been the perfect meal.  Dave loves adding up how cheap it is to eat at home.  And sooooo yummy!!
We love the steak knives that we got from mom and dad for Christmas last year.  They really are cool.