Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fall Activities

This week was life as usual.  Greg stays busy at work and Debbie stays busy at home.  Debbie made the year's worth of applesauce.  Alex was excited to help for the first 10 minutes then got bored.  Debbie worked hard and was finished earlier than in years past and put up 33 jars.

Alex was unsure about the fire station open house but his cousin was going so he decided to be brave.  Debbie did not encourage watching any demonstrations (past experiences have proven that Alex is terrified of actual fireman work even though he loves them in theory). On this trip he braved going inside the ambulance and sat on the front of the fire truck for a picture.

Alex loves our Bella dog.  He loves to pet, pat, and squish her. And she is very tolerant (most of the time).

Abigail had school photos.  She was very excited to dress up and get her hair done. She admitted though that she took her hair out as soon as the picture was taken.

Both kids are very creative and love doing crafts and making up dances and such.  Today Alex made a rocket car out of an empty water bottle, cardboard, and pencils.

Sunday, October 8, 2017


This weekend we had a getaway to Arches National Park, a destination we have been talking about going to for a while and finally took the plunge.  

We let the kids skip school on Friday and loaded the car up with kids and the dog and headed south.  Along the way, we saw a couple of trains (which Alex put on his "binoculars" for) and made a few break stops to keep things interesting.

Once we got down to Moab, we grabbed lunch at a yummy cafe and then headed into the park.  When we got to the entrance, they told us that dogs actually weren't allowed on any of the trails, only paved areas (somehow we had gotten a different impression) so that made a wrinkle in our plans but didn't end up making too huge of an impact.

On Friday afternoon, we did two shorter hikes, The Windows and Double Arch.  Greg got the first turn taking the kids for a hike while Debbie stayed with the dog in the car.  We were worried the kids would be tired but they showed no signs of it as they scrambled up rocks and chose the adventurous way back on a more rugged trail.


I don't know what this is.

After Greg and the kids did Windows, Debbie took the kids to hike Double Arch.  The kids thought that the second hike was cooler since they got to do more scrambling around the rocks and didn't have to stay on the trail as much.

Scrambling on rocks

View of double arch

After those two hikes, we were ready to get some dinner so we headed back to town and had dinner at a BBQ place and ended the day with ice cream.

Ice cream cheers!

Since dogs weren't allowed in the hotel, one parent got to sleep in the car with the dog each night.  Bella the dog sure liked having someone near her and she slept well but it was hard to get comfortable even with a foam pad and the back bench laid down.

On Saturday we first went to the delicate arch viewpoint where we hiked up to get a view (when the kids are older we'll tackle the full hike to the base of the arch!)

After delicate arch, we had lunch at a really cool picnic spot that gave the kids lots of rocks to scramble around and explore.  We stayed there for a while and then went to Sand Dune arch where the kids played for about an hour in the sand at the base of the arch.

Abby liked jumping from the rocks into the sand

After Sand Dune arch we thought about exploring a few other arches but what the kids really wanted to do was get back to the hotel for swimming (best part of any vacation for them).  The kids played in the pool for a while (Greg and Debbie weren't too interested in going into an outdoor un-heated pool when it was only 70 degrees) and then we went to pick Bella up from the kennel she had stayed at during the day.  We picked up a not great smoothie in town and a really good banana bread coffee cake and then went for a short stroll along the Colorado river before Abby wasn't feeling well and we had to head back to the hotel.  (After resting for about 2 minutes and getting some water Abby made a miraculous recovery and was quite able to eat her chocolate chip cookie thank-you-very-much).

We headed back on Sunday morning without too much more to note.  It was a fun get-away and we look forward to exploring Southern Utah more when the kids have a bit more stamina!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Birthday and Things

It has been a while since we posted.  Life has not been too exciting.

Greg isn't a huge fan of traditional birthday cakes so for his birthday he asked for an ice cream sundae bar.  We had a bunch of toppings and a couple flavors of ice cream.  It was pretty awesome.

Bella the dog is growing bigger and can be kind of crazy sometimes but Alex still loves her a lot and loves to grab/pet her any time he is near.  Here is a sweet moment we saw from inside.

While Abby and Debbie went to watch Women's Conference, Greg and Alex went on a boys date.  Their dinner was toast and Menchie's.  Nice.

Last week was the primary program at church.  Abby had done it before but this was Alex's first time at the podium.  Both kids did a great job of having their parts memorized and presenting clearly.

This weekend is General Conference and Debbie worked hard to set up lots of activities for the kids to do while watching/listening to the speakers.

Debbie also took the kids to the bounce house during the men's conference.  It was a good way to get wiggles out after a screen-filled day.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Labor Day and Parties

We love holiday weeks! Mostly because it means time together with the people we love.  On Labor day we went up the canyon with Greg's sister.  We cooked bacon over the fire and had BLTs.  We played 'would-you-rather' games while the boys played in  the dirt. Then we roasted marshmallows and had s'mores.  It was an enjoyable afternoon.

We forgot some vital cooking tools but we were able to improvise with a roasting sick and things.
Tanner was so happy to be throwing dirt on everything including Alex.
Yummy marshmallows

He usually has his s'more deconstructed.  This was his first time putting all the ingredients together.  I think he liked it.

At the end of the week we had Greg's company picnic.  We have been looking forward to this all year long.  It's a couple of hours of free food, bounce houses, and fun.  This year got off to a rough start with some stormy weather that was stressing Debbie out when we left the house combined with driving 40 minutes to the park that it's been at in the past only to find out that it was at another location 25 minutes from that.

When we finally got to the party the kids were very excited about all the bounce houses that we had a hard time convincing them to get dinner from one of the many food trucks available.

On Saturday the kids participated in a cooking class. The theme was healthy breakfast. While the class was fun the kids admitted that they didn't really like the dishes they made.

Later in the day they got to go to the bounce house to celebrate their cousin's birthday.  It was a super fun day.

This activity probably didn't end as badly as it looks like it will...
The three day weekend was a nice break from the normal but now it's back to school and work for all of us!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Dog training and Canning

While last week had a lot of "new" (dogs, school), this week has been about adjusting.

Debbie has been working with Bella, the dog, on a lot of training.  Potty training, behavior training, and kennel training.  Bella is doing pretty good with all of it though she does have it out for our living room for some reason.  We've had to get creative and construct some pretty major walls to keep her out.

Alex likes Bella's kennel as much as she does
Bella likes to collect apples at the bus stop

Debbie and the kids love canned peaches and last year's supply ran out a few months ago.  Luckily,  it's peach canning season again.  Debbie bought 4 boxes of peaches and, with some help from grandparents and Greg's sister, got ours as well as grandparent's 2 boxes, all canned on one long and hot day.  The house got up to 95 degrees from having the stove on for just about the entire day.  She was very pleased with the results though and we look forward to eating them throughout the coming year.

83 quarts of peaches

Alex has been getting more comfortable with the computer since starting a "virtual preschool" this Fall.  In addition to his preschool, he also loves browsing Amazon.  He loves watching videos of toys and adding his favorites to his wishlist.  He is pretty indiscriminate about what he chooses and has at least a hundred toys on his list.  Greg and Debbie just figure that adding to a wishlist is nearly as satisfying and way cheaper than actually buying them.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Solar Eclipse and First Week of School

The summer went by far too quickly. But the eclipse was a great day-before-school-starts activity. We had a viewing party with Greg's grandparents and sister. Everyone enjoyed periodically checking out the moon's movement and even though we were not in totality range we still saw 91% coverage which was pretty cool.

The eclipse shadows were pretty neat.

Both of the kids started school this week. Alex is in a 5 day pre-k class and Abigail started 3rd grade. We are looking forward to the regularity and a portion of the day when everyone is doing their own thing.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Last Summer Hurah!

This last week was a pretty busy one.  School will start this coming week so Debbie wanted to take the kids on another camping trip to end their summer vacation.

They decided to stay close to Debbie's parents house.  And lucky for them Debbie's mom and sister's kids joined in too.  They stayed two nights in a campground they had all to themselves.  There wasn't a ton to do at the campground but they enjoyed a few hikes, roasted marshmallows, and lots of playing with cousins.
Alex really likes camping and was a big help with setting up and taking down all the gear.

It was a "boy's only" tent

Abigail is very good at organizing games.

The best way to go for a walk

"Look Mom, I'm climbing a tree!"

Our view of the valley
After camping the kids and Debbie stayed a few days at Debbie's parent's house to help lay 6000 square feet of sod. Greg joined the fun on Thursday just in time to take the kids out for ice cream as a reward for their hard work.  Friday morning was back to work and while we didn't actually lay all the that was delivered we were able to cover the area Debbie's dad wanted covered and helped a little with the next section before heading home.

The kid's job was to roll each piece of sod to make it easier for the adults to carry.

They may have been bribed with $.02/roll.  Even still Abigail earned quite a bit of money.

She used some of her hard earned money to upgrade her ice cream.

It wasn't all work at Debbie's parent's house.  The kids were excited to watch the local train go by. It was really cool to be right next to the track although Alex wished that he had four hands "so I can wave and cover my ears at the same time."

 The train can be seen just coming around the bend in the distance.
 Abigail loved "driving" the tractor this trip. She wasn't big enough to reach the pedals but she was pretty good at steering. Alex enjoyed the trailer ride.

Even with all the fun at Debbie's parents house the most exciting part of our week was our adoption of a puppy!!!

We had been considering a dog for a little while and saw ads for a couple of puppies up in Cache Valley near Debbie's parents.  Once we saw this puppy though, our mind was made up.  The kids named her "Bella" and she is a English Springer Spaniel / Poodle mix.. a springerpoo.  She is about 12 weeks old and while she still has a bit of puppy craziness in her she is very very cuddly and sweet.  She loves to follow us around and be a lap dog.

Abby took to her right away and Bella loves to run when Abby calls.

Alex took a little while to warm up to her but now they are buddies.

With her black curly coat it can be hard in pictures to tell one end from the other!

We are really excited to have Bella in our home.  We have lots to learn about raising a dog but she is really smart and wants to be good so we are hoping it comes pretty naturally!