Thursday, April 04, 2013

Pinewood Derby

Tuesday night our Scout's held it's annual Pinewood Derby Pack Meeting. This year we struggled a bit as we didn't receive the kit until the the day before we left for Nauvoo. Being we were gone for so long Hunter and his Dad were left with Monday to create his car. Last year Hunter's won and he went to Region. At Region he came in 2nd and so wasn't able to go to State. Frankly I didn't want to have to take him to Salt Lake for the state competion so we were quite happy he came in 2nd. This year Hunter was hoping for the same thing. Despite the late hour of making the car they created a "unique" car for this year. Hunter called it a horse and other's called it a donkey or mule. Hunter with some help spray painted his car black monday night. Tuesday afternoon when he got home from school he painted the horses nose and nostrils. He was going to paint the eyes but decided to hot glue a pair of googly eyes instead.

 During pack meeting he earned a few awards.

His car didn't do as well this year but he still had fun. He received a green participation ribbon and... 

was given "The Most Unique Car" award!

His car did have wheels. However a younger boy knocked his car off the track after the derby and his wheels popped off. Glad they popped off afterwards and not before. It's crazy to think next year will be his last year participating in this fun annual event.

April Fool's

April Fool's Day was monday this year, the day after Easter. Brayden had snack that day for Preschool. We had several April Fools snack idea's but in the end I went with something a little less time consuming. When we walked into his class room his teacher said,"Ooooh Brayden, what did you bring for snack today?" He replied, "Dirt and worms, hahahahahaha I'm tricking you today. It's Fool's Day!" 
This kid cracks me up.

Being Fool's Day I needed to come up with something to do for my family. In years past I've made numerous trickery dinner's that look like dessert's. I've made jello and put it in their cups with straws so it appears to be kool-aid. I've gotten them up half an hour early pretending it was later than it actually was. This year I wanted something new. I needed something new becuase my older kids kept telling me that I couldn't trick them this year, they would be expecting it. So I did the unexpected!

Come dinner time I hung up a large sheet so that no one could see what I was fixing up in the kitchen. I than made a normal dinner or spaghetti, rolls, corn, jello and 2 types of drinks. I called my family to the table and at each place setting was a menu and a pencil.

 Inside that menu they were to pick from some coded words what they were going to be served over a 4 course meal. They started with nothing, no fork, plate, cup etc. Everything was to be chosen.

 Madelyn chose worms with brain matter aka spaghetti, mini digger aka spoon, girl scout aka brownie and mud slide aka chocolate syrup that was meant for her ice cream dessert. She loved it. She thought it was pretty difficult to eat spaghetti with a spoon. 

Hunter's 2nd course brought him a fluffy pillow aka roll, butcher's tool aka knife, worms and brain matter aka spaghetti and a chip of the old block aka an ice cube but no cup. It was HILARIOUS trying to watch him eat his spaghetti with a knife!!

This was Kory's 1st course. He ordered entrepenuer's 1st business aka lemonade, sock in the face aka punch, King Titon's weapon aka a fork, and udder's delight aka ice cream.

I fooled the kids one more year! We all had a fun night full of laughter and fun. I'm being told this was my best "trick" thus far. So glad the kids enjoyed the night. 

Easter Sunday

Easter this year didn't exactly sneak up on me but came a little sooner than I would have liked. We got home the night before a little after 10pm from our Spring Break 9 day vacation. The kids weren't sure the Easter Bunny would come being we were gone for so long and I indeed had my doubts too. 

Come Sunday morning this house had some excited kids seeing that the Easter Bunny did make a presence. This year the kids were given a new book, a new package of fun socks (not the old boring white socks this mom always buys), a baskett full of candy and new church attire. 

Madelyn loves getting new clothes and so immediately changed from her jammies into her new purple dress. She's been a bit envious of her Aunt Hanna's fun, bright, silly colored socks she's seen her wear and so was thrilled to receive her very own. She can't wait to see her Aunt Hanna and show her these new silly socks of her's.

Emily loves getting new clothes too. She followed her big sister's example and changed into her new dress too. She was thrilled with the brightness of her new socks and the fact she got her very own 1st chapter book. She also loved the blue ring pop she ate causing her mouth to be blue for all our morning pictures.

Miss Kylie received a new dress too. She got a fun board book and a new package of socks too. Her's I'm told are quite boring though as they are all white.

Hunter recently finished a series of books and so was quite excited to be able to start a new one. I love how my kids enjoy reading. I hope they continue that enjoyment into adulthood. We recently bought both boys some new church shirts and the Easter Bunny must have known this as he only brought a new tie for the boys.

 Brayden is big into Super Herores right now. He could not hold back his excitment over receiving Spiderman socks. He liked his new book and candy too but the socks were by far his favorite. He also received a new tie that somehow missed his photo shoot complimentary of his big sister Madelyn.
Next Sunday I'll have to take our belated Easter outfit pictures. 

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Trip to Nauvoo

Kory's parents our currently serving a mission in Nauvoo, IL. The past 2 years has gone by so fast it's hard to believe that they will be returning home in just 2 short months. Wanting to take our kids to Nauvoo while their grandparents were there we decided we'd make the long 23+ hour trip over our spring break. To help pass the time I created a binder for the 4 older kids. Each notebook had a new coloring book, writing book, colored pencils, regular pencils, colored pens and their very own pack of gum. I also included some games like hangman, battle ship, tic-tac-toe and paper that had a picture of all the state's license plates. When a new license plate was found they could put a sticker on it. By the time we got home we were only missing 9 states!
 Then I took some cheap items, wrapped them up and then each day we were driving the kids got to pick and open one gift. They didn't get a gift the 1 day because they got there binder's which were a suprise. In total they each had 5 little gifts over the course of our trip.
 We took the kiddo's out of school the Friday before our Spring Break to start our journey. Our first day of driving we wanted to make it to Salida, Co (about 9 hours away) where one of Kory's missionary friends live. Kory was incredibly tired after burning the candle at both ends for several weeks now so I drove the majority of the day. It was quite eventful with several bouts of car sickness from Brayden and Emily.

 Kylie did very well entertaining herself with her toes.
 All the kids did very well entertaining themselves. Something else I had included in each binder was a map of where we started and where we were going. While traveling the kids could make marks through each town we drove through so that they could see how much farther we had to go to reach our destination each day. It was just one more thing to help pass time and minimize the dreaded, "how much longer" question's all parents dread!
After many, many hours of being in the car we made it to our 1st destination. Here's Kory and his friend Coy. We were able to get to Coy's home early enough that we left all our kids with a babysitter and us adults went out to eat and visit. We had a great time getting to know each other.
 Day 2
We woke up Saturday morning to a snow storm. We were hoping to leave Coy's house by 9 that morning but due to the snow storm we hung out until almost 11. After about 30 min. of driving the snow stopped. We thought we were out of the woods. Boy were we wrong. Too soon we caught up with a different storm. No snow, or rain but just very very windy. It was blowing the already fallen snow all around us and causing big snow drifts across the highway. We started counting how many cars/trucks that had pulled off the road but lost cound after 75. We even came across a truck that had just rolled. Everyone appeared to be O.K. There were several other cars that had pulled over so we just kept on a rolling. Our average of the day was going about 20 miles an hour. Here's a picture of what we saw almost the whole day! Our plan was to hop on I-80 and continue on to Omaha, NE. However thank's to the storm I-80 was closed. We ended up having to re-route ourselves 2x due to the storm.

About 8pm that night we finally came across Garden City, KS only 4 hours shy of our goal for the day. But being it was now past 9 pm we decided we'd better quit for the night as the wind storm wasn't letting up. What was really disturbing to me was that the 9 hours we had just spent in the car was suppose to have only taken us 4 hours. The kids were beyond thrilled to learn our hotel for the night came with a pool. The kids had a great time releasing some of that pent up energy that had been storing all day long! If we had to do it over again we would have just stayed at Coy's and taken an extra day to arrive in Nauvoo.
Day 3

We spent most of our day traveling through Kansas. We saw lots of these windmill's.

 It was interesting to see that most small towns we drove through had this on the side of the road coming into their town. They were huge, old looking and quite ugly. We assume that this storage facility was full of wheat due to the picture on the front. Other's had barley, corn and other types of grain painted on them.
 We eventually came across Fort Riley and decided to stop and spend some time stretching our legs. They had a free mueseum we were able to go through. The Museum closed at 2 and we arrived at 1:30. We had to hurry through but we saw some cool things.

Here's Emily just inside the front entrance.
 I loved this silk flag with 39 stars.
 The kids got a kick out of this buffalo soldier display. The coat was made from buffalo skin and then they had a pair of boots and gloves also made from Buffalo skin. Being it was still quite cold outside thanks to the wind we were all a little envious of the warm clothing.
 When we had to leave the museum we took a few minutes to walk around the building to see the different tanks from the different era's. We would have liked to spend some more time but it was just too cold to be outside and we had burried everyone's coats and didn't want to unpack the van to get them. Besides we were still very very far from our final destination.

 We got our 1st experience driving through a toll booth. What a joke that was. We had to pull up to a machine that gave us a tickett. Several miles down the road Kory decided he was ready for a turn to drive. Being we were on a farely busy freeway we waited until I came across an exit to pull over. At the exit we had to drive through a toll booth. I told the lady we weren't getting off but just trying to safely switch drivers. She said it didn't matter, we had taken the exit and therefore had to pay but after we did so we could make a u-turn and get back on. So we handed over our charge of $.88, made our u-turn and jumped back on. Afer just a few miles more we came across another toll booth on the freeway. This time we were charged $3.00.
 When we left our hotel that morning we knew we were still about 12-14 hours away from Nauvoo. We debated about getting another hotel room but in the end decided we just wanted to get there and so drove on through. We pulled up to our house that we rented a little after 1am Monday morning.
 I took this picture our last day in Nauvoo. When we arrived the ground was covered in snow! This home is owned by the Pountain Family. It sits in Historic Nauvoo right next door to the Shoe Store that we were given a tour of the following day. It was awesome to be so close to the historical sites and not have to drive anywhere. We rented this house for our stay along with our good friends the Schultz Family. Once upon a time we lived across the street from each other in Arizona. Our kids played with each other daily. We miss them a lot and was anxious to spend some time with them.

Day 4
Monday morning after a good nights rest we started off our day by stopping by the Historic Nauvoo Visitor Center. Here's Madelyn and Kylie standing by a replica of Joseph Smith.
 The visitor center had several interactive computers that the kids could read and learn about events and different places of importance that relates to Nauvoo. This is Hunter, Emily and Jenna.
 After the Visitor Center we started going through some of the older homes and shops that Missionaries give tours through. This sweet sister was showing us one of the many jobs kids had back in the day. This was the way the kids took water to those who were working on the temple.
 This Sister Missionary let the girls have a turn with the print press. We learned and saw the tools that these people used to make news paper's back in the day.

 In another home the Sister Missionary was telling us how they use to catch mice during the night. Apparently they had some real problems with the rodents when they first arrived to Nauvoo.  They would fill  the bucket with water, place a stick across the top and another stick to use as the ramp. The mice would then smell the water, walk up the ramp jump onto that center piece of wood that would then spin making them fall into the bucket and drown. Apparently this trick could trap and kill several mice each night. Brayden was quite enthralled with the set up!
 We saw lots of interesting things and heard many great stories about these early Saints. After each home or store we walked through I felt more and more blessed to live in the times that we do. We don't
need running water, electricity or home's with lots of furnishings but they sure are nice to have and I am more thankful for them having seen the more simple way of life.

Day 5

Most of Kory's siblings went out to Nauvoo last year and they all told us we needed to take the 2 hour drive to Moline, IL to see the John Deere facilities and the Chocolate Factory. And so that's what we did. We packed a lunch, loaded the van's and both families headed off to Moline. Our 1st stop was the John Deere Common's. This was where Kory and Kevin dropped April and I off with all 10 kids. The plan was for us to stay there and let the kids play with all the heavy equipment while the dad's went to the John Deere plant for a 2 hour tour. However the wrong adress was entered into the GPS and the guys didn't make it in time for their tour so came back and played with us instead.
Brayden inside a big tractor.

 Jenna sitting inside a GINORMOUS loader's scoop.

                                                        Brayden on another tractor.

 Here's Emily
 Besides all the heavy equipment they also had a table or two set up with blocks, mini John Deere replica toys to play with. Even the bigger boys, Hunter and Josh spent some time here.

 Jenna and Emily, the best of friends.

 Here's Logan and Brayden spending some time at the tables too.

Hunter and Emily.

 When we were finished at the Common's Area we walked out the doors and into a John Deere store. Madelyn loved the pink hat but this mom couldn't fathom the $28.00 price tag.

While the girls were looking at the clothes the boys played once more with John Deere tractors and trucks.

After the John Deere experience we headed over to the much awaited Chocolate Factory. What we discovered was a sign on the front doors saying they were closed for the week because they were moving. Oh..... the disapointment.

Not wanting to head back quite yet we decided to make a trip to the local zoo. Being it was a Tuesday ticket prices were marked down and it only cost us $20 for each family.

 It was cold. Oh man it was cold. I can't even begin to tell you how cold it was... well actually I can. Google tells me that it was less than 40 degrees with winds up to 10mph. We have had that temp. at home quite a bit but the difference is at home I'm not outside walking around in it for 2 hours! Despite the frigid weather the kids seemed to have a good time.

We did see some elephants on our walk around the zoo.

Madelyn and Emily.

We did see this little guy who was braving the cold weather.

We all looked forward to the time we could go indoors to see us some animals. This little place was full of birds.

 These guys were out in the middle with no cage around them. They had many signs posted saying, "Caution, Birds may bite". I love their colors.

How big is Emily compared to a full grown Eagle?

We did see a lion, a zebra and a couple of giraffe's that were inside their building's away from the cold. This zoo also had buildings dedicated to the smaller species like snakes, frogs, and alligator's, etc. My camera just didn't catch any great picts to share of these. My kids our deprived. We took Hunter to the Phoenix zoo when I was pregnant with Madelyn. Hunter also got to go to the Prescott Zoo on a field trip when he was in kindergarten. For my other kids this was their 1st time at a zoo. Could have been better but not having any previous experiences they were all quite thrilled with the animals they did get to see. Hopefully we'll have better luck next time.

That night after we returned to Nauvoo we were able to spend some time with some great people we love. Here's Grandpa Heaton peeling oranges for Brayden. Brayden is telling Grandpa Heaton about the leprechaun that got a way at preschool and taped his teacher to the wall.

 Emily and Grandma Heaton.

 It was great to see the kids spending some time with Grandma and Grandpa. My 2 older kids remember their Grandma and Grandpa and can tell stories about them. Emily and Brayden couldn't do that. Emily was 4 and Brayden was 2 when they left. It doesn't help that we had been living in Arizona up until right before they left and didn't have many opportunities to see them. We lived to far away. I look forward to the time these grandparents return home and my kids are able to spend some more time with them being we will be living right next door to each other.

Day 6

We took a quick 30 min. trip to Carthage, IL. Here our 9 of the 10 kids. Kylie is being held above the monument by her dad and child #10 is just 3 months old and missed the picture moment.

 Here we are inside the jail on the top floor where Joseph and Hyrum Smith and several others were held prisoners for a short time.

 This is believed to be the door that the bullet went through that killed Hyrum Smith. There was a second bullet hole that went through the lock.

The top window is the window that Joseph Smith fell out of.

I am so glad we took the time to visit this historical place. I learned so much on this tour. For instance I didn't know that when Joseph Smith was brought to this jail the other 7 men with him were not arrested like he was. These men were free to go and yet chose to stand by the Prophet's side. The jailer was so impressed by Joseph that he ate many dinner's downstairs with the man's family. They jailer was so taken with these men that instead of keeping them locked up behind bars he let them have his personal bedroom, knowing that they would be more comfortable. What an awesome man Joseph Smith was. Carthage is filled with an amazing spirit. Walking through this jail/home and listening to the condition's these valiant men were put through brought tears to my eyes. I am so thankful for the dedication these men had to the gospel. I am more appreciative of the sacrifices that our early leaders where put through and asked to overcome. I hope to one day return to this sacred spot. When we return I hope that my children that accompany us will be old enough to feel the spirit while there and be able to gain a better understanding of what took place and the sacrifice these honorable men made for the gospel. I think too often we take for granted what the gospel gives us and still has to offer.

Back in Nauvoo.... we took a wagon ride. We were given a tour around the outskirts of Nauvoo and were told many more stories about these early Saints.


Here's Brayden feeding the horses after our wagon ride.

Being the chocolate factory in Moline was closed we decided to make a stop at the Fudge Factory in Nauvoo just down the street from the temple. It was more of a store than an actual factory that you could walk through and see the chocolate process that we were expecting the day before. Never the less the kids had fun picking out a chocale treat.

Day 7

Unfortunately our time in Nauvoo had to come to an end. We had a great time visiting the sites, seeing the Mississippi River and spending time with Grandma and Grandpa. Spending several day's with our dear friends was quite the highlight too. We miss them already and wonder when the next time will be when we see each other. They no longer live in Arizona but in Minesota. With our family now in Utah we are very far apart. We hope one day they will be able to move a little closer and we can see each other a little more often. 

We were able to rent the Pountain Home for just $75 a night which we then split between both families. Part of the deal of renting the home was that we were asked to clean it before leaving. So thursday morning we spent some time cleaning the house, washing the towels and bedding, vacuming, taking out the trash etc.In between loads of laundry we began loading the van to begin our journey home. Not having any snow storms coming our way our journey home was much better than our journey out. We did have some car sickness to deal with. This time from Hunter and Emily. We also had a case of hives. Madelyn has always had very sensitive skin. Being we were gone for so long I washed everyone's clothes in some cheap detergent before we left our rented house. It wasn't too long into our journey that Madelyn started to complain about her skin being itchy. The next thing we knew she was covered head to toe in hives. Basically everywhere her clothes touched her. I promised her I wouldn't post any pictures! We eventually came across a town large enough that carried Benadryl. Not being able to rewash her clothes the poor girl got a dose of Bedadryl each day we were traveling home. 

On this 1st day on our return home we came across an outdoor strip mall. Needing a break we stopped. We went into a Nike store and was able to pick up some baskettball shoes for next season for $15, originally $98. Woo Hoo! Kory also scored. He picked himself up a new pair of basketball shoes, casual shoes since he had none and a pair of open sandals he uses as slippers since his current pair was ripped a few months back. Five pair of Nike shoes for $97.  This outlet also had a Children's Place. We were able to pick up Hunter 2 winter shirts for next year for $2 each and a new pair of play shoes for $5. It was fun to shop but it sure made me miss the old day's when we were living in Arizona and I was able to score deals like this all the time.

 We were really hoping to see Winter's Quarter's in Omaha but they were already closed by the time we arrived. These church sites close at 4pm, a little earlier than expected. Not ready to stop for the night we travelled another 2 hours and spent the night in a Hotel in York, Nebraska. They had a pool but Kory and I were both so tired we talked the kids into popping popcorn and watching what we were hoping for was a good movie on the tv. They got the popcorn but we couldn't find anything on tv which is always amazing to me how many chanel's Cable/Dish has to offer and how little worth while programs are out there. They ended up watching a cartoon we had never seen and then we all hit the sack.

Day 8

We finally got out of Nebraska and into Colorado. The kids continued to do great in the car. We stopped for lunch in Sterling, Colorado. We grabbed some lunch and ice cream from DQ and headed to a park we had passed on our way into town. It was a great non windy, non cold day. The kid's were able to run around, chase after each other, and just have some much needed time away from the van. 

                                                             Madelyn and Hunter


 We were only at the park for about 30 minutes when it started to rain. The kids weren't ready to leave yet and neither was mom or dad but it was nice to get back on the road and get closer to home. It was also great we could blame the rain for our early departure.

We stopped for our last night in Denver, CO. We stayed at a hotel with a very nice indoor, heated pool.

 Kylie loved the water.


Brayden and Emily

I think the kiddo's could have stayed in the pool for several more hours before tiring.

Day 9

We left the hotel knowing we'd be sleeping in our own beds tonight. We were still 9 hours from home but after traveling for 2 days we all felt we were pretty close to being home.

Brayden and Emily
This was the only time on our entire trip that the kids fell asleep in the van, besides the baby of course!

We stopped for lunch in Grand Junction, Co and walked through a Cabela's Store. I'm sure the locals enjoy their store but for us it was much to be desired. I guess we got spoiled being so close to the Phoenix, AZ store. But regardless it was a great way to get out of the van and stretch our legs.

Kylie did pretty well through our many day's of travel. By the time we got to  Richfield, Ut just 2 hours from home she was done! I took her out several times tring to nurse her to sleep but she just wasn't having any of it. I finally swapped seats with Hunter so I could sit next to her and try to keep her happy our last little journey home. As much as I wanted to just keep her out of her seat neither one of us was comfortable with that. So her and I made the best of it.

We got home at 10pm that night. It felt so good to be home! It was great to sleep in our own beds, shower in our own shower and be able to eat real meals after eating out for 3 straight day's. We did have fun over our 9 day's of vacation but it's good to be home. We had fun and we are so glad we went. I hope we can go back to Nauvoo one day. I know Hunter and Madelyn will probably remember this vacation but I'm not so sure about Emily and everyone else was just to young. I would love to go back when my younger kids are a bit older and do it all over again.....well maybe next time we'll go when it's a bit warmer. While in Nauvoo we were told many, many times that it's usually not as cold as it was while we were there. Last year at this time the tree's were budding, tulips were coming up and it was in the 70's. Wish we could have had the warmer temperatures but we made the most of it and we really did enjoy our time in the mid west.