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Friday, September 28, 2018

She's 12!

This girl has been so excited for her birthday.
She is officially 12!
Oh wow!

She wanted waffles and ice cream for breakfast.

After school when Dad got home she was so ready to open those gifts.


Caught a weird smile on her face but she loves the music from The Greatest Showman. When I saw this shirt I thought of her and knew she'd love it.  

She wanted clothes, make-up and of course the ipod we get our kids when they turn 12. 
She was thrilled!


She's starting to make some goofy faces and poses now. Why oh why?


This girl is so obedient. She quickly jumps up and does whatever she is asked. She's a great student and works hard for those A's. She just started the flute this year and is loving it. As one of her birthday gifts we bought her 3 months of tennis lessons. She's excited to start those next week. She loves watching Chuck and Hawaii 5-O on Netflix. Her favorite book series is Gregor the Overlander. We are trying to get her to venture out and try a new series. She loves to paint rocks and doodle on paper. She loves hanging out with friends. We recently bought a trampoline and this girl is out there every single day on it. Even when she invites friends over they go out there and "talk" while sitting and jumping on it. We sure love our Emily. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Surprise!

 This cute girl is turning 12 next weekend! We decided to throw her a "surprise" birthday party. Unfortunately one of her friends spoiled the surprise by telling her she was going to have a birthday party and she was coming. Thankfully her party was planned an entire week before her actual birthday so even though she knew it was coming she was surprised it happened when it did. Dang girls! 

Emily loves to bake and help in the kitchen. So with Maddies help we planned a Cup Cake Wars birthday. I was going to have it at my house but when my mom offered me hers I decided to jump at it. My house is still torn apart! So we had it in Grandma's front yard. 

We served pizza and soda to fill those bellies before the games began. 
I split the girls into 2 different teams to play against each other. 
We had 3 different rounds. Our first round was Halloween. Each girl was given a cupcake and told to decorate it Halloween style. On their tables I had taken a fruit/veg tray and filled each spot with different kinds of candies. Both trays were identical. They had 5 minutes to do this. After 2 minutes some of the girls were almost done so I stopped the clock at 3 minutes. Each table had to pick the best one. Then they each got a new cupcake and had to decorate them exactly the same as the favorite cupcake they had picked earlier. 


These were the final projects. Some of them missed the "exact" same. But they still had fun. 


 Round 2 was a birthday theme. Afterall it is a birthday party.

Each girl got a new cupcake. I told them they again had 3 minutes. However after a minute I stopped them and we had a challenge! Each team had to send one girl to my middle table. I had another tray set up with some fun birthday toppings. The first girl that rolled doubles got to go first at collecting some extra fun goodies to decorate their cupcakes with. There was a catch! They had to wear a oven mit and use tongs to collect their goodies. 


It was so fun to watch these girls get creative!

Our family loves the super hero movies and so we used that as our 3rd theme. 
Having fresh cupcakes the girls were to decorate their cupcake with the new theme. At the dollar store I found the upper bodies of some super heroes. I thought they would be perfect to use as a cupcake topper. Before each round began I would give the girls a new tray with new toppings. After a minute into our new round I stopped them for our last challenge. 

I borrowed my sons nerf bow and arrow and a target. I had one girl from each team do the challenge. It was the birthday girls turn! Her friend did a better job at hitting the target and so Miss Emily had to finish decorating her cupcake wearing a hero mask I took out of my youngest's dress up box. 

They had an additional 2 minutes to decorate and then it was hands up!


 The girls had so much fun! 

I don't know what happened. After our last round I told the girls to go sit on the lawn and that my other daughter and I would bring the gifts over for Emily to open. I turned around and the next thing I knew Miss Emily had been hit with a cupcake or two by her friends. Yuck! I quickly put a stop to that. 


Despite the smashed cupcake on her face and in her hair she had an awesome party!
We had invited 4 of her friends and I spoke to each mom telling them it was a "Surprise" party and asking if their daughter would be able to make it. I made everyone a apron and I wanted the teams to be even. Unfortunately one of the girls never showed up but we still had fun.  
It makes me happy that this sweet girl has friends to hang out with. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

September Lake Powell Trip

  Lake Powell
We have travelled so much this summer that some of us were ok at not making it to our annual September trip with friends this year.  However, the closer we got to the big weekend our minds had been changed and we decided to go. Kory has been crazy busy at work and didn't have a trailer for us to use. Not wanting to set up a tent just so the wind could blow it away nor stay in a hotel we decided to go just for the day on Friday. Kory had done several installs that week and at the last minute decided to stay home and get caught up on paperwork. So early Friday morning I loaded up my van and the kids and I headed to Lake Powell by ourselves. 


Kylie and Gracie let the big girls turn them into mermaids! 

The warmth of the sun and sand between our toes was what we all needed. It was so nice to get away from the house and all it's chaos for a fun day in the sun!

These 2 loved playing on the big floating mat. 


The big kids left for a boat ride. I stayed behind to keep an eye on my little ones. 

Gracie, Kylie and Savanna

Brayden had just fallen off our floating hippo!
This kid loves to swim with his life jacket on. 

After lunch we all got on the boat for a little boat ride.
Maddie and Secoya 

Secoya, Hunter and his friend Karson that we brought with us.  

Kate and Maddie 

It would have been nice to be able to stay longer and have Kory with us but we did have fun!
Till next summer!

Monday, September 03, 2018

Peach Day Parade

Last year when Maddie was choosing her classes for this year I talked her into signing up for Jazz Band. I had NO idea that jazz band was not done during the day but early mornings before school. This girl gets to school on A days (3 days one week and 2 the next) at 6:45 for an hour of music. Then during the day she participates in her regular band class. She is going to be an even more awesome flute player by the end of the school year.  

For Peach Day's she got to participate in the parade. Wasn't her favorite thing to do. But we loved cheering her as they marched on by.....




She is going to have 4 more opportunities to play and march in parades. She is thrilled! 
Not really.....

Monday, August 20, 2018

Summer Is Over

And like that our summer is over!

Oh how I wish I could bottle up my kids and keep them at their current ages. 
I love these kids!
This young man is a Sophmore this year. How did this happen?
He gets to go to a new school this year, the ol' highschool!
He's not sure what he wants to be when he grows up. But he's leaning towards the medical field. He doesn't want to be a doctor that see's sick (coughing and throwing up) people and he'd prefer not to be a kid only doctor.  He enjoys working with his hands! He's thinking maybe something like Sports Medicine. 


This girl is a Freshman this year!
She loves to read and draw. It was no surprise to hear her say she wanted to be an author one day. She's talking about designing homes like an architect. But after all the work we've been doing on our house shes decided shed probably rather decorate than design houses for people to build. 


Emily is officially out of elementary school. 
She is our pet lover although we don't own any. 
She would love to take care of animals. She gets to attend a diferent school this year, the Intermediate School.

This young man is going to be in 4th grade. He loves little kids. He loves playing with his younger cousins and is drawn to babies. He wants to be a baby doctor! He is also going to a new elementary school this year. His new school is a STEM school and so focuses more on science, technology, engineering and math. I hope he is going to love it!


 My baby girl is going to be gone all day long! She absolutely loved her kindergarten teacher last year and so wants to be one when she grows up. This little girl is going to go to the same school as Brayden this year. She's a little nervous to be gone all day and be at a new school but she is going to be great!

 Hoping for an awesome new school year!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Bear Lake Trip

The weekend before school started we had our last family reunion.
The Christensens went to Bear Lake!
Knowing it would be quite the drive we drove as far as Salt Lake the first day to help break up the trip. Our hotel had a swimming pool which of course was a highlight for the kids. 

The next morning we went to a taffy candy factory. We were given a short tour and watched a short video on how the taffy was made. Afterwards we got to walk around their little store and fill bags full of all sorts of different flavors of taffy. We had fun and were all on a sugar high. Fresh taffy is so, so yummy! The best part was that the tour was free. Yippee!

After our taffy tour we drove to downtown Salt Lake to visit the Clark Planetarium. It also had free admittion.  

They had some pretty cool ineractive games. This game the kids were trying to blow up floating asteroids aiming towards a planet. You controled your shooter by moving your arm. So fun! 


This interactive game controlled the lights in the sky. Something to do with our energy!


There was a section that all sorts of different gases could be smelled. Some were sweet smelling while others were horrible!


More interactive games. 


Maddie and Kyli landed on Mars!


 The games and interactiveness at this place was absolutely amazing. And it was free! After 2.5 hours the big kids were ready to leave but the  younger ones could have stayed longer.


Unfortunately at this point in our trip my camera battery died. And for whatever reason my back up battery wouldn't hold a charge. Ughhhhh...

After leaving the Planetarium we drove up towards Logan and was able to stop and see Kory's Mission President and his wife, The Brenchley's. We sat and visited while the kiddo's jumped on their trampoline and played on their swing set. It was a great visit!

When we left their home we finished our drive to Bear Lake where our cabin was. We spent the next 2 days playing at the lake, walking around Raspberry Days and just hanging with the family. It was a great few days to get away from our chaotic house and to be able to spend some time together before school starts next week. Eeek! I am so NOT ready. 

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Kolob


We have had and still have one more family reunion to go to this summer. It seems like we have something going on every single week. Between the reunions, our own family vacations, volleyball and working on our house it's been a bit CRAZY this summer.  This particular Saturday we needed a litte bit of a break from working on the house. So when Kory said he needed to go to Kolob Saturday afternoon to meet with a potential client I loaded up our kayaks and we went with him.  

The water, the laughter and pure joy is what I needed to re-juvenate my soul!


I love that these kayaks are small enough that the kiddo's can navigate them all by themselves. 


When others were on the kayaks there was plenty of sand to play in. I forgot to throw in our sand toys but it didn't stop this young lady from playing. 


Hunter got a little car sick and so chose to stay on the side watching everyone else play. 
Don't mind his funny face. He wasn't thrilled I was taking his picture. 


I love how gentle and smooth the water is. These kayaks have a weight limit of 85 pounds. But....Kylie and I did NOT sink completely. 

Maddie trying to push off the shore without getting wet. 
Silly girl.....You are in water!


We weren't there long. But it was long enough to enjoy the great outdoors and make some impromptu memories. I love my family!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Week Long California Trip

On Friday afternoon, mid July 2 families loaded up their 10 kids, 4 adults and all their luggage into a 15 passenger van and headed for the Sierra Mountains. 
Cody Goodfellows, Dad, own a mine and we had planned to make that our 1st stop of this week long trip. 


Due to a road washing out and few detours our 1st night on the road we didn't arrive to the cabin until after 1 in the morning instead of 11pm like we had thought. 

Saturday morning was a beautiful day at the mine. We walked and walked and walked enjoying the beauty around us. Some of the girls; Emily, Madelyn, Jenna, Secoya, Savanna and Gracie

Cody had wanted to take us on a pretty fancy hike but the bridge over the water had washed out! Thats just a portion of the bridge behind Hunter. 



So beautiful! 

There were 3 seperate ponds that all fed into each other in front of the cabin.





One of the outside games to play was horse shoes.


We were surrounded by streams and rivers. 

The kids were so excited to play in the water!

 I made little miss wear her life jacket.
Although it was mid July the tops of the mountains still had snow and ice glaciers on top of them. The run off is what filled the ponds. 
To say the water was cold was a understatement!


We were also given a tour of the mine. 
We saw some old trains and other mining paraphanilia. 



 On Sunday morning we drove 45 min to church where we attended a super small branch. Smaller than Alton's ward even. We had 4 of the 6 youth present that day. Their Primary is split up into 2 classes. In R.S and Sunday School there were about 10 of us but half of us were visitors. It was interesting to see.  That afternoon we sat around playing card games, went on a walk and Little Miss here decided to test the water to see if it was still cold. It was! 
  
 Bright and early Monday morning we loaded the van and hit the road to our next destination, Yosemite National Park!

Beautiful place! Everyone kept telling me Yosemite was like Zion. I guess there are some similarities but Zion you can drive through in about 45min with traffic. Yosemite takes hours, and I mean hours to drive through without traffic! We spent most of our day in the van but we did make 3 stops. Our first was for a potty break. Had to get a picture of the river. 
  
More than an hour later we stopped for our first hike. Despite the smoke from the nearby fires we were able to enjoy ourselves.  Emily had been feeling a little car sick and so her and I walked behind everyone else while she got her bearings back. She was my model for the day. 





Look at our Dad and that tree! 

That right there is a Secouia Tree. 
Kylie, Savanna, Jace, Hunter, Brayden, Secoya, Jenna, Gracie, Emily and Madelyn
All 10 kids! 

Some of these tree's were just massive! 


The next tree was even bigger! This tree had been hallowed out to allow horses pulling carts and carriages to pass through. 

Dad and Emily

My girls

The girth of the tree is so big that all 10 kids and both dads fit inside.
Amazing!


Kylie loves purple. She was so excited to find purple flowers. 

The hike was only about a mile and a half down. And it was ALL downhill! Hiking back up was a killer on our calfs. It wasn't the easiet getting everyone back up. 

How great it is to be the littlest and get piggy back rides!
She has the best Daddy!

By the time we got back to the car everyone was ready to rest their weary legs. Good thing since we sat there for another 4 hours while driving through the park. We came to the main station where there are several hikes, hotels and restaraunts but we could NOT find any parking so we continued our drive through the park. 

Near the exit of the park we came across another parking lot and decided to stop and check it out. There was a short and pretty easy hike we could do but we'd have to take the 10 min tram to get there as there was no parking. So we did!

Although we are sitting it's so nice to be out of the 15 passenger van and have more room!
Kylie and Emily.

Madelyn

Jenna, Secoya and Cody

Brayden, Hunter and Jace

These Secoya trees are so huge!
That's my little man, Brayden. 

Miss Kylie 

Had to take a picture of the pretty wild life. 

This massive tree fell hundreds of years ago. It was so, so tall. 

Look at the roots on that thing! 

These 2 needed to stop and take a break along the way.  

Soon we found the Grizzly Giant! 


My pictures just don't do it justice in showing how big these trees are. 
Just a little ways more and we came across the Enduring Giant. It is as tall as the Statue of Liberty!


 Kory tired taking a picture of Emily and I standing in front of it and he couln't get the whole tree in the frame!

Kory and I 

When we made it back to our van we left Yosemite National Park and drove to Santa Cruz where we were staying for the night.  Tuesday we needed a break from the van so stayed pretty close to the Goodfellow's cousins house who let us sleep at their house for 2 nights. 
Our first stop for the day was The Mystery Spot,a gravitaion anomaly that kept the miles on our faces and us laughing at each other. 



You think you're standing straight but those around you say you aren't???


Who knew you could stand on the edge of the table and lean forward without falling off?




Miss Kylie can't stand straight either!


Emily trying to do pull ups.



At the beginning of this little excersise 6 volunteers stand on a board from tallest to shortest. 
It's pretty obvious to see the shortest to the tallest. But then the volunteers swap sides and guess what? They are all the same height!
Pretty Cool! 

Why can't you just stand straight and tall? 

There was another are where the same little excersise can be done
Kylie is obviously quite shorter than Brayden. 

But when they switch sides they are almost the same height.


This tree has been growing right on the edge of the Mysetery Spot. Look at it's stump. It was growing straight and then the Mystery Spot played havoc and it grew sidways but then it straightened itself out again. 

This was such a fun place to be. I'd love to go back again. 

After the Mystery Spot we spent the rest of the day at the beach!
The boys built forts and raced the waves. The race was to see if the boys could get the fort built BEFORE it was washed away. I'g going to say the waves won more than these silly boys. 

The weater was just perfect! At home our temps were over 100 degrees and here in California it was mid 80's. It felt so good! 


These 2, 14 year old girls are so funny. They spent hours trying to make a heart shape with their hair and bodies. We really didn't see hearts but we sure got some good mo hawks!


Hunter was a good sport and let the little girls bury him in the sand.  


It was a great sun and sand filled afternoon.  

 Wednesday our plan was to hit the boardwalk small amusement park. However talking to our hosts they told us about another place, California's Great America. It's bigger than the Boardwalk, has longer hours, has rides for both little and big kids and was only $10 more a ticket. So we went that route! My little ones really thought we were back in Disney Land. We had the best time! 

Like most amusement parks there are big kid sections and little kid sections. I spent most of my day hanging out in the little kids section. There were several times that Kory and I swaped so that I could go ride some awesome rides with my big kids. 

Kylie and Savanna were best buds.




After a few hours Brayden was ready to join us and ride the smaller rides.  


Bumper cars were quite the hit. 
I lost track the number of times the kids drove themselves around.  

 We even saw a few characters walking around.  
Gold Striker! An old wooden, rockety roller coaster. 
These 2 loved it, while Dad said, never again!


Kylie and Dad driving an old car along the track. 

This was the littles favorite roller coaster. They did it over and over and over again. 




This theme park has a water park inside. After lunch the kiddo's grabbed their swim suits and we went their first. Both Kory and I were wishing we had brought our swim suits in too. We had no idea how how big the water park was. These kids favorite was the lazy river!


Emily was great at keeping track of Kylie. Kylie is so short that she always looked like she was about to drown. 

When the kiddo's were done with the water we went back to the rides!




I found the big kids once and snapped a picture to prove they were with us this day! The older 3 stayed together and just went from ride to ride without us adults. They had a great time!


This place was seriously the best. I think I'd rather come here than DisneyLand again. The lines were almost non existent, granted we were here in the middle of the week. I also felt there were more rides for those under 46". And the water park was seriously so much fun. I wish I had taken more pictures but.... water and my camera don't exactly work together very well. 

Sequoia National Park
Thursday morning our vaction was coming to an end and we started to make our way back home. We left Santa Cruz and made our way to Seuquoia National Park. 


We were so ready to get out of the car by the time we got there.

 More big trees!

Beautiful lady! 

Look at the girth on the fallen tree! 

I have never seen so many tall and beautiful trees! 

 Not just tall but wide too!

My kiddo's! 







Love the sun glares in the middle of the forest.  







Jenna, Seqoya, Hunter giving Gracie a piggy back ride and Jace.


Loved this rock. Made us think of an elephant! 
We had so much fun visiting these awesome national parks. They are just so gorgeous, green and cooler temps than what we are use to. There was almost a reverant peace when walking. There were a ton of kids around yet no one was running, yelling or screaming after each other. No one was playing tag. In fact quite often kids were walking around with their arms folded next to their families. It was so peaceful. It's hard to describe. I loved every minute we were there!

When we left we made our way to Bakersfield were we got a hotel for the night. 

Gracie and Hunter 




By the end of our trip....
 Hunter had become quite the "chick magnet" to the young ladies in our group. 
 Hunter and Jenna

Hunter and Savanna 

Hunter and Jenna again.


 This was the favorite activity for the night! The kids never got tired of Kory "kicking"
them into the pool.


To soon the night came to and end and we all went to bed. The next morning we were out by 9 and started our 6 hour drive home. We had a great week with our friends, visiting an old mine, going to the beach, The Mystery Spot, 2 National Parks and an unexpected theme park. It was definetely a fun packed week!