Tuesday, August 15, 2017

And Blake is 12!!

Blake had a great birthday.  He had a few days of celebrating.  Natalie and I headed back down to Idaho to get Leah and Emily from EFY on Friday.  I was a little nervous about Blake being alone so long as Cora and Dave had to work.  So I ended up taking him to Toone's house where he hung out most of the day.  Blake and Avery took down a shed and watched a movie, they had a great time together.  Dave picked him up in the later afternoon.  Dave then took Cora and Blake out on the boat. They were out for a few hours.  When it was time to come in they had to run up to gas up the boat and got a treat.  Saturday, his birthday, Dave had a work party at the corn maze.  Blake and Dave did some work in the morning, then off to the maze.  I guess they got lots of good food there and after went swimming with lots of water slides.  Cora was with friends and didn't go with them.  The boys got back only a few minutes before Leah and I got home.  Sunday morning he opened his presents.  Dave got him the knife he wanted, even tho it makes me nervous and he got tickets to see Imagine Dragons.

In our church, when a young man turns 12, if he is worthy, he is ordained to the priesthood.  This is a very special time for him.  Most of our family was able to come.  Dave gave him a very nice blessing.


After church everyone was invited to our house for dinner.  Toone's were not able to make it to church because of other responsibilities, but came right after.  I had tried to think of something quick and easy since I was coming in late the night before.  We kept it simple. Levi artistically arranged our vegetables for us. :)

People stayed and talked for a while.  After we did a quick clean up.  Nicole, Dad and Mom had done most of it before they left.  It was a wonderful day.  I am very thankful to all that brought stuff and helped me get it on.  It was a really nice day.

Monday Blake had his birthday party.  I had found a great escape package online.  Set up like you would a murder mystery party.  All that he invited were able to come.


I think they had fun doing the escape.  Leah helped me set it up in three rooms.  They were given 45 mins to do it.  It took them about and hour and 15.


After we served banana splits and then they played a few more fun games.


We really stretched his birthday out.  It was all really fun.  Blake can be a little pill to his sister, but I always get many compliments from other parents.  It gives me hope.  Really he is a good kid.  He loves working with his dad and loves to drive the tractor.  Sometimes it is hard to get him going, but once he is working, he works hard and long hours.  He is kind and generous and we love having him in our family.  I love the young man he is turning into and can't wait to see what else he accomplishes in his life.  Happy Birthday Blake!!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Trek

We had the opportunity to go on trek this last week.  Dave and I went as Ma and Pa and we were lucky that all of our kids were able to go.  Since Dave and I were going to be there and Blake's birthday is so close they let him go as well.  I took one picture and accidentally deleted it.  So that's cool.  In the months leading up to trek, I was very nervous about the heat.  Heat does not like me.  I was worried about getting heat stroke and being useless to my family.  Which is exactly what happened.  Everyday about 1:30 I would start to feel the headache come, followed by the vision blurs and nausea.  When we finally got to camp I would lay down and let everyone take care of things until about 8 when I felt I could move without throwing up.  I was disappointed in myself. I had some fun games and some chats planned for my trek family.  But I had wonderful Aunts and Grandparents and Dave that took over and helped.  And lots of other great Ma's in my company that helped with food prep.  Because of the heat, I don't think I would do it again.  No point when I can't do much.  But is was neat to experience.  This was my first ever and it was fun to have my whole family there.
We arrived Tuesday night and found out who our families would be.  All of my kids were so excited about the families they were put into.  After each claimed to have the best family.  Cora got to go with Maycie and Leah was with Emily.  Blake got a wonderful group that he really loved.  I instantly bonded with our Aunts.  We decided they were my sisters, not Dave's :)  They will definitely be life long friends. We set up our camps, had a fireside and went to bed.
Wednesday we ate and packed up then started on our way.  Our first hill was a massive one.  It was so neat to see some of my trek sons and my own son, running up and down that huge mountainous, rocky hill to help others with their carts. It was a long, hot day.  By the time we reached camp I was ready to go home.  I really did not know how I was going to keep going, feeling the way I did.  The boys got us set up, my Aunts and Grandma made dinner.  My 'kids' mingled with some other groups and then we had another fireside.  We slept out under the stars.  It was really beautiful.
 After a good sleep, the next morning I was ready to go again.  A little stiff, but had renewed determination.  Those pioneers really went through a lot.  Our first thing of the day was the reenactment of the river crossing at Sweet Water.  This was by far my favorite one.  It is so dry that it was actually just a little creek that we went through, but since we were actively participating it seemed more real.  Those young boys were amazing. It was a bit easier of a day to start out with.  We did not go as far and had a slower pace, until the women's pull.  That was SO hard, but it was really neat to see all the sisters come together and support each other, over and over with each cart. We really can do hard things. Shortly after the pull we reached camp.  Almost no shade this spot and it was hard to keep the nausea under control.  There were many sick this time.  One man in my company was a Dr, and he was gone most of the afternoon attending to different people.  Again a good dinner and fireside.  Cora, Maycie, Leah, and Emily sang at this one.  They did a great job and Cora and Maycie were even asked to sing for their company later.
Friday it was time to come back down.  We had climbed so far up the mountain.  It was more of a criss cross path, so not to bad going down.  We wandered through beautiful pastures and gorgeous trees.  I tried to rest in the shade every chance I got.  At our lunch break Thursday we got a group together to play poisonous stump.  A game Steve and Kita taught us after their trek.  It was a huge hit and we had lot of kids come join us.  (See I could have been a good Ma when I didn't feel like dying) Friday we had a big group that came to find us to play again.  It was cool.  I could hear my girl's singing very loud with their companies.  We reached camp finally. This night dinner was catered.  Also some lovely company set up a hair washing station.  That cold water did wonders for me.  I recovered faster than any other day.  Friday I was able to spend time with my trek family, really get to know others in my company, and do some fun things.  There was another fireside by our regional seventy and his wife.  They are amazing.  Followed by a dance, and homemade donuts.  After we stayed up playing games until about 1.  It was so fun.
 Saturday we ate, got packed up and had a testimony meeting.  After that is was only about a 1/2 hour walk to the top of the hill for us to reach 'Zion'.  Many people had come to watch their kids come in.  It was so neat to come over that ridge.  Then we all pulled down and around in a circle.
The people that put this on are amazing.  It truly was such a wonderful experience.  All my kids said they would turn around and do it again the next day.  Even Dave said he would do it again.  If it was only about 19 degrees, I would as well.  I have definitely learned to appreciate more what my ancestors had to go through.  Cora said she also gained an appreciation....for pants! :) They were exceptional people. I am very thankful for the opportunity that we had to do this.  It was such a joy to listen to our kids talk the whole 3 1/2 hours home about their awesome families and what they did and experienced.  Two more things.
Right before the women's pull, Natalie found me to tell me that Leah had been hurt.  She was walking through the field and suddenly got blurry vision, headache, and almost blacked out.  They stopped her on the trail and gave her a blessing.  Leah said at first she wanted Dave to give it to her, but then realized that her trek Pa was taking care of her and he needed to do it.  Right there on the side as the other carts were going by.  She said that was a really cool experience for her.  That is just what the pioneers had to do.
Dave and I got called down to Blake's family Friday morning.  He had been playing ninja warrior the night before and gotten stabbed with a stick.  It was the tiniest prick ever.  But apparently it was just in the perfect spot.  His Pa was also a Dr.  Thankfully.  He said it had bleed inside all night and had completely stiffened up.  Blake couldn't move it at all.  We stayed with him for about a half hour, trying to stretch it and loosen things up.  He had some Advil, but it was just not going to be walked on.  They said he would need to get a ride for the day.  Blake was so disappointing.  He wanted to walk. There were many people sick and injured and they still had to go on.  So for him to get a ride it was pretty bad.  He practiced stretching it all day, Dave gave him a blessing, and by the dance he was able to walk a little.  Saturday he limped out of camp, so happy to be back. He is still limping and it's tender, but he is recovering.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Boating

Wednesday we took the boat out.  I had planned the day weeks before and was so glad that it was still nice to go.  It was the perfect weather for boating.  Toone's and Braden met at our house at 4, then we all drove down to the lake. Dave took the kids and food out then came back for the rest of us.  We set up and had some sandwiches, chips, and watermelon.  Dave took Blake and Avery for a tube ride.  Then Emily and Leah, then Maycie, Cora and Braden.  At this point on of the tubes sprung a leak.  Dave came in for a snack.  Then back out with Cora and Braden.  He wakeboarded and then Cora finally got her skiing.  This girl LOVES to water ski.  She just pops up like nothing every time and you can see the joy.

After we had Cora and Maycie ride the tube together.  It was quite the funny production to get them both on.

But we got them on and had a great time.

We had lots of turns, some fun dumps and lots of laughs.





Leah and Emily sang at the top of their lungs as they were on the tube.



The boys swam the entire time and dug up mud.  We snacked some more and then it was getting dark.  Time to go in.  We got everything loaded up.  Dave again took the kids first and Braden decided to ride in.  Dave had him ripping.  Dave took his job of teasing the friend of Cora's to the fullest.  I think he enjoyed it.  When we got back to the house the girls practiced their song for trek, and finished off the food.  Finally it was time for everyone to go home.  It was such a fun night.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hike

Last Saturday we went hiking in Waterton.  There was a stake hike planned, but we did our own and then met them back at the church for dinner.  Waterton is so beautiful.  It is such a long drive, we never seem to get there.

When we arrived it was raining.  We considered not going, but in the end it was so good that it was raining.  It was so hot when the sun came out, we were glad for the cool of the rain.  We dried and it rained again, and we dried.






Wall Lake and Forum Falls is an easy hike.  It is 12K, but very little elevation.  That is how I like to hike.  A leisurely stroll through the gorgeous forest.  And we made it without seeing any bears. Bonus!!

After the hike we meet up with Toone's at the church and they all decided to hike Bear's Hump.  Joe had brought the missionaries and they wanted to do it as long as they were there.  Everyone went up but me.  I stayed and prepared my lesson.


Monday we headed to The Hills for FHE with the Toone's.  Another beautiful spot.  The kids climbed the coulees again and played in the water.  We had a nice short FHE lesson and dinner.



It was a wonderful evening spent with wonderful people.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Heat Wave

We have been having some pretty lazy summer days.  It has been very hot for a few weeks now.  We got a little respite with one rain shower and then back up into the 30's again.  Way to hot for me.  If there is a breeze, our house stays cool, mostly.  We have been doing lots of BBQ cooking and trying to learn the Dutch Oven.  I don't want to turn on my oven and heat up the house, and we need to prep for trek.  It is coming up fast.  Dave and I have been told who our grandparents will be and we have 2 aunts.  We have contacted all of them and they seem great.  I am still very nervous about the heat and trek.  I really don't do well in the heat.  We have gathered all our supplies and think we will ready to after we pack it.
For our family swim lessons are only mandatory till they reach a level that I feel they can tread water for a long time and if they got caught in the middle of a lake they could swim to shore.  Cora went on about 4 levels after that, Leah stopped right away.  Blake decided he wanted to stop, then changed his mind this year.  So we stuck him back in.  Last week he passed a level and next week he will do another.  He hopes to quickly catch back up to his friends.  He is hoping to next year do two as well then get his Bronze Cross/Bronze Medallion to become a life guard. Last night he got invited on a YM's activity.  They went boating.  He tried waterskiing.  Blake has been a little nervous to try with Dave, but he did it last night.  We are hoping to take the boat out this week,if our Tahoe is fixed so we can pull it, with friends and he can try again
Leah is getting excited about EFY as well.  She can't wait to go. She has also been practicing the piano tons.  Her goal is to start the organ in the next few weeks for prelude.  She has also had fun playing around with songs set to other music and having her siblings sing with her.
Cora is working many hours and has been having some fun hanging out with a guy from our stake.  It seems to work out that they get together about once a week and do something.  Also her and Leah will try to get together with Emily and Maycie as often as they can.  She is also going through her room and deciding what to take and what stays.  She is getting a little anxious to go.  Makes me sad, but I understand.  High School is done and she is just in limbo for the summer, waiting for the next step of her life.  I have been putting off setting a date to take her because I am really going to miss her.
We have worked out a bit of a summer schedule.  The kids have a list of things they have to make sure is done before screen time.  Including chores, reading, doing a service, playing game with sibling etc.  It has been working well.
A few weeks ago, Blake was helping Dave do some raking in the field while Dave baled.  He spend hours out there a few different days. He really enjoyed that. I love to see how proud he is of himself when he gets responsibility like that.  It is so good for him to feel needed and trusted and to know that we know he can handle a big job like that.
Right now we are mostly all reading in the front room as the breeze comes in.  Too hot to jump on the tramp of spend to much time outside.  My front porch is cool in the mornings and we will often eat breakfast in the sun before it gets to hot, then in the evening it is shaded and cooled.  We like to sit and chat or read.  It's been wonderful.

Monday, July 3, 2017

So Much....

I tried to figure out how to separate these out into a few different posts.  But they are so intertwined, I just decided to go for it.  Grab a snack! Blake and Leah had Time Travel Tuesday.  50's dude and 80's chick.

A few days later they both participated in the school talent show.  Leah had worked on a fun number with her friends.  They had put a few songs together in a medley.  It was really cool.  

Blake had wanted to sing a number with Leah while she also played the ukulele.  He was starting to stress a little because she had not picked a song yet.  The night before at about 8:30, Leah sits down to decide and learn a song. Crazy girl!!  They played The Beatles' Octopus' Garden and did fabulous.

Blake had a school track and field that he did awesome at.

Wednesday was Blake and Leah's last day of school.  (Cora's was the 15th)  My sisters had arrived Tuesday evening.  Cora had a date Tuesday and then drove out after.  I stayed for the last day of school.  There was an awards ceremony and all the Grade 9's were given hoodies. And then we left straight from the school.  Cora hung out with her cousins and had the best time ever.  Brock had just returned from his mission and we had not seen much of McKay since he returned almost a year ago.  They explored HillSpring and went up to Waterton.  Hiked around Red Rock Canyon and got ice cream. 

When I arrive, Brock and McKay had gone in to do a temple session. (Next few pictures given to me from Brock)


Later that night all the cousins old enough met them at the temple and did baptisms. Thursday was a little cold.  The kids took off to do another hike.  It was so fun that all us adults could just stay and not really entertain much.  We mostly relaxed.  The older kids could just go and do whatever.  Thursday night was Kailey's grad.  Most people went into that.  She stayed after and went to some parties.  Then got home in time for everyone else to get up at 3 in the morning.  I guess in their family it is tradition to hike Bear's Hump and watch the sun rise the morning after grad. (These next few pictures from Leah)


Napping after an early morning.  Cora did not have much time to nap.  She needed to get ready for her grad.

My sisters did her hair and make-up.  She was very happy with the results and looked beautiful.
We then rushed back to our house for her to get to the school to do grad pictures.


Dave and I went up for the banquet a few hours later, then Myrna brought up my mom and Blake and Leah.  Tyson drove up to be her escort.  She said that they started school together and she wanted to end together.

Look at that!  She graduated.






Right after the ceremony, we rushed back to our house, changed and headed back out to my parents.  All Cora wanted to do for her grad party was bridge jumping at midnight.  She knew Justin would be up for that.  Tyson was not feeling well and decided to go home.  They picked up Emily and Maycie on the way out.

It was a little cold, but she loved it.  Not a lot jumped, but many were there to support and cheer on.  After from the cold water they were all wide awake and stayed up playing games till about 2.  Almost a full 24 hours.  The next day was the 1st.  We went to the parade.  I skipped the program to help get things down to the park, but heard it was amazing this year.  Here are the cousin 'triplets' that all graduate this year.

After the program we all got excited for the pit roast.  So delicious! It never disappoints.  Cannon and Dad of course had helped lots the night before getting it in and had taken most of the boys while we were at grad.  I love this picture of Grandma and some of her grandsons.


It was a very hot day.  We were all leaving after the picnic, but Blake wanted one more chance to jump.




I love our reunion. It really is the highlight of our year.  My kids have such awesome cousins that they love to be with.  I love that they take off on hikes, temple trip, and bridge jumping.  They all get along and look out for each other and make lots of memories.  Brock who had returned from Texas 8 days earlier, was still a little in missionary mode.  Cora was excited to serve a mission before, now she is so fired up she can't wait.
On Sunday the three YW in my ward that had grads this year all wore their dresses to church.  We slipped out between meetings to get a few pictures.

And that is a wrap of my last week.  Hope you all have a good one and survive this crazy heat that is expected.  Pray for rain!!!  We NEED it!