Sunday, April 23, 2017

Random Pics

We've all been busy this week with what has become our new normal.

Debbie has been busy trying to balance home life, coordinating things and working at the new house, and handling lots and lots of sewing for her side-work.  Debbie has been working for the last year contracting for alterations and repairs for dress store in town.  She likes that she can work from home and do something she is good at and enjoys.  Unfortunately, this is prom season which means she is getting more work than she might otherwise want but she is swimming through it.

While Debbie is working, Alex finds ways to entertain himself...

Alex likes to color and sometimes he finds interesting places to do it.

Alex's cousin came over for a play date and Alex made a fort all by himself.  The boys had lots of fun in there.

We took a break from the grind on Saturday night and headed out for some shopping and dinner.  Everyone got at least one new piece of clothing and everyone got a milkshake!  Pretty awesome!

Don't have a great story for this one... it speaks for itself.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Just a quick post for this week.  We've been busy with family events, work, and house rennovations.  Here are some highlights:

Greg got another pair of front court tickets from work to see the Jazz's final home game of the season.  Greg went with his brother-in-law and they had a good time and the right team won.  Work can be long sometimes but boy it has its perks...

The kids hit the Easter egg hunt jackpot this year with not one but two hunts.  The first hunt was a neighborhood hunt at some friends nearby where they do an annual Easter egg hunt and potluck.  There were so many eggs the only thing constraining the kids was the size of their baskets. 

Abby went for some of the more challenging finds.

Opening up her haul.

Alex also did very well even though he could only fully use one hand (the gloved hand is where he got a very very minor scratch that he didn't want anyone to see).

After Easter party #1, we took a bit of a rest and then headed to hunt #2.  Hunt #2 was at great-grandparents house where the kids had a great time finding eggs but an even better time playing with cousins and extended family.  The kids played the night away while Greg and Debbie enjoyed chatting and not having to chase Abby and Alex around.  It was a very enjoyable day.

Monday, April 10, 2017

We bought a house!

Well, the biggest news for the past little bit is that we have bought a house!

It's not very far away (just a mile or two north of where we are now) and we aren't moving in any time soon (more on that in a bit) but we are excited about it and looking forward to settling down there!

The house is a pretty decent size with 3 bedrooms on the main floor and 2 bedrooms + playrooms in the basement.  We like the layout of the house and the location (it is in the boundaries of the school Abby is going to now) but it needs quite a bit of updating inside.  Which is a fine thing... Debbie has always dreamed about doing a major update, so here is her chance.  We aren't making many structural changes but we are going to completely gut the interior and make updates throughout.

Debbie is very excited about the house and renovation.  Greg is... his usual self.

In between our trip to DC and the camping trip that Debbie and kids took we started that demolition work and through a combination of our own work, work from a contractor, help from family, and hired neighborhood help we just finished all of the demo/cleanup this weekend.

Alex thought all of the demolition and hauling was interesting... here he is explaining it to Greg's sister.

The most difficult part of demolition was removing the floor to ceiling rock wall.  Debbie's dad was kind of excited to use the demolition hammer and worked hardest of all to take the wall apart piece by piece.

Abby worked on it too.
The kids enjoyed time playing while one or both of their parents worked on the house.

Alex and Greg on a zipline

Alex and Abby and their cousin

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spring Break Camping Trip

The kids were on spring break this week and enjoyed an adventurous camp-out in the early part of the week with Debbie, Debbie's dad, an aunt and some cousins.

We had reservations for two nights in the Kodachrome Basin in Southern Utah.  But as we were driving through the snow and slush of Bryce Canyon we were getting weary about if camping was going to be fun or not.  After having dinner in Tropic it was starting to get dark.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) we missed the turn for Kodachrome Basin and ended up in Escalante.  By that time it was too dark and cold to try to find our campsite so we stopped at the first place we came to and asked about places to stay.  Turns out the owner of that bar had a cabin that she gave us a good price on.  It was so nice.  Abby was disappointed that we wouldn't actually be camping that night so instead of sharing the king sized bed with Alex and Debbie she slept in her sleeping bag on the floor.  It was a good thing we stayed in a cabin that night because it was so windy and cold sleeping in a tent would have been miserable.

late night cracker snack before bed

Outside the cabin
 The next morning we had a nice crepe breakfast and headed back for Kodachrome Basin.  We had just enough time to set up camp and eat lunch before our scheduled horseback ride.  Abby was so excited and declared that she knew how to ride a horse because she'd seen it on TV.

The ride was pretty stressful for Debbie.  She had a high-strung alfa-female horse who did not want to be stuck at the back of the line.  She was also nervous about Abby being safe.  Abby loved the right and said that she and her horse had a real relationship.  Debbie was happy when the hour long ride was finished.

 Because Alex was too small for a horse ride (he would have hated it anyway) he and Papa when for their own little hike.  They followed to horse tracks for a while took a break at an Indian cave and got back to the corral just as the horse riders finished.

Later in the afternoon Papa and the kids found a tiny stream to play in.  The made mud dams and watched how the water eroded them.  

That night the wind picked up and we all went to bed not long after the sun disappeared because it was too cold.  That night was pretty cold.  Debbie and the kids did their best to prepare for it by putting on as many close as they could and wearing hats and socks.  The kids did alright but Debbie had a really hard time.  Maybe that means she needs better camping gear.

The next morning it was 32' when we got up.  Debbie was anxious to build a big fire but it didn't do very much to warm us up.  As the morning went on the temperatures kept dropping, getting down to 25'.  The water for the oatmeal froze when we put it in the pot.  It was not the greatest part of the trip.

Trying to get warm by the fire.

After warming up Alex liked climbing on things around camp.
 We decided to take highway 89 on the way home and ended up having a picnic lunch at Piute State Park where the kids enjoyed skipping rocks and stretching their legs.

Even though the trip didn't go as originally planned there were enjoyable parts and we loved spending time with family.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Crazy Two Weeks

The last few weeks have been crazy.  During the third week of March, Greg had a big work conference that he'd spent long hours preparing for.  He ended up staying in Salt Lake during the conference so that left Debbie and the kids by themselves for a few days.  

While Greg was at his conference Abby's school held their annual family night at a local fun center.  Debbie was hesitant to go but decided it would be a good way for the kids to get some energy out.  They did have fun but there were some tears when it was time to leave.  

Greg got home from his conference just in time to repack his bag and get a little sleep before the whole family caught an 8am flight to Washington DC.  We flew with Greg's sister and her son to visit Greg's brother and family.  The kids loved traveling together (except when Alex was worried that his cousin would take his toy/food/blanket/air; which happened a lot).

There was lots of fun had while we were with family.  Here are some of the pictures:

The kids love their uncle's community pool (Greg and Debbie sat this activity out)

Greg (and his Dad) were exhausted from many days of stress and work.

We spent an afternoon at the Smithsonian National Zoo. We were a bit (or more) disappointed at the lack of animal viewing, the crowds, and street parking but the weather was nice and it was fun to be there with everyone.

On one day Grandma stayed at the hotel and watched three of the four grand kids while everyone else went out for a yummy brunch and Escape the Room.  That outing was made more exciting because we first drove to the wrong address for Escape the Room (NE vs NW).  But we made it just in time and had a blast working together to solve the puzzles and making it out of our room (only 20% of players succeed).

We also realized that even the largest hotel rooms can feel small on a cold/rainy day.  Alex made the most of every object though.

On our way out we stopped by a small NASA visitors center.  Alex already has a fascination with space so was very excited and now has the NASA sticker on his door. 

Alex was excited as always to see his cousin.  He shows his affection in very intense ways.

Still buddies though...

On the plane ride home, Abby was sick and threw up a couple of times.  By some miracle, we managed to catch all of it in bags... things could have been a whole lot worse.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Loving the Weather

Spring is definitely here and we are loving it!  Here are some highlights from our week:

Great-grandparents took the kids out for frozen yogurt for their birthdays.  The kids loved it (as you can see) and everyone had a good time.
Chicken-noodle-soup-with-wheat-thins is not your typical picnic food (or even a typical meal combination) but it was yum and the weather was nice so they went for it!  (Greg was late at work as he has been all week)
Abby had her 8-year-old-checkup.  She confirmed her heart is working.
Greg and Abby went to her school's Engineering Night.  They built a catapult and guided a little robot through some obstacles.  (Would have been even more fun if those activities were combined!)

One afternoon the neighbors had their sprinklers on.  Abby and Alex of course thought it would be a great idea to turn ours on and run around... even though it was only in the mid-60s.  They had fun for 10 minutes or so until Alex all-of-a-sudden realized he was cold.  Surprise!  He was rockin pretty sweet snow boots though.

Greg had a lot of late nights at work which has been tough but we had a really sweet night on Saturday thanks to work (well, specifically Greg's boss).  We got invited to go to a private VIP showing of Beauty and the Beast.  The theater was just friends/family of Greg's boss and was all luxury seats, plus whatever we wanted from concessions plus, Debbie's favorite, blankets as well.  Greg's sister went with us and we all had a great time.  It was the first time we had all gone to a movie as a family (and Alex's first movie theater period) and although we probably won't go again too soon (2+ hours is a long time for Alex to sit through) we all had a lot of fun and it was quite a treat.


Ended the week with a park trip... not too many days pass without us getting out!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Birthday Girls!

This was the most birthdayful week of the year!  Both Abby and Debbie celebrated their birthdays during the week.  We had fun doing multiple birthday things on their actual birthday and on the weekend.  

For their birthday this year both Abby and Debbie got a new bike (one for Debbie and one for Abby).  Abby was so excited about hers she was out riding it before school the day she got it.

The girls on their birthday

She is so excited about this present.
 On Abby's birthday, her aunt surprised her with lunch at school and a birthday balloon.  Abby loved the extra attention.

On the weekend Abby had a birthday party with friends.  She invited many of her friends from school and they had a movie night with pizza, cake, candy, dancing, games outside, and lots of fun.  Abby loved it but she was pretty wasted at the end (and so were her parents!)

Birthday cake on the kitchen floor.

Alex has been especially trying this week and wears down his parents patience.  He is a smart boy but often his smarts run away with him and he invents wild worst-case-scenarios that work him up even more.  At some point, hopefully his emotional intelligence catches up with his mental intelligence!