Saturday, May 30, 2020

Kylie turns 8

Kory, Hunter and Maddie all ended up working on Kylies birthday this year. Man my kids are growing up. Not wanting to celebrate a birthday at 5:30 in the morning we planned on celebrating later that night. However we had a gift or 2 we'd give her during the day. Before breakfast she was given a new bike. Maddie was still home to help her try it out. 

For breakfast, keeping with tradition, and its the kids favorite we had pancakes. 8 dollar sized pancakes for this sweet one. 

A little bit before lunch she got her 2nd gift. A baby doll that swims!

And swims she does. It's kind of cool to watch.

We spent a few hours in the pool. I am so thankful we have it to keep us busy while we still try to keep ourselves socially distanced from others. 

Swimming doll was definitely hit! 

Lunch was a treat. I fixed something we only have 1-2 times a year, 
chicken nuggets and french fries. 

And then Dad and the big kids got home and she was able to open the rest of her gifts. 

After dinner we spent another hour outside, in the shade playing with our 2 week old bunnies. 

They are so tiny and so much fun. 

Kylie wanted an ice cream cake with a brownie mix instead of a cake. I failed miserably. The brwnie was super thin, way more than my cake mix. It stuck horribly to the greased parchment paper. It complete fell apart as I was trying to carefully scrape it from the pan. So we had a bowl of brownie mess and ice cream instead. I will have to try that again. 

After our birthday treat Maddie's 2 friends, Jenna and Alyssa stopped by to wish Kylie a Happy Birthday. They brought her balloons and a little treat bag. So thoughtful of these sweet girls. It totally made Kylies day. She loves Maddie's friends. 

Kylie had a great day/evening playing with all her new toys. This girls loves legos almost as much as Brayden. She asked for girl lego's for her birthday. 

Happy Birthday baby girl. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Grapvine Trail

Hunter went on a group date this past week. It was his first time on the Grapevine Trail. This trail is actually in Zion National Park but it's the backway so we didn't need to use our national park pass. The 2 younger girls thought it was a bit chipper when we started out. 

The beginning of the trail isn't very pretty. Just lots of desert landscaping with no real shade trees. 

The trailhead went from flat to downhill pretty quick. We were climbing down the mountain.

In some area's it was quite steep. It wasn't a hard trail but it isn't very well maintained. Lots of cactus growing on the trail. There were several spots with loose gravel. I came home with a skinned knee, a cut on my hand and bruised bum from slipping in the loose rock. 

Here's the cactus plants growing on the trail. 

Once we got to the bottom the scenery changed. Lots of water, lots of large rocks. We crossed the river a few times going down and coming back up. 

 Huner told us we'd get wet. He said we would be walking through the river so to wear shoes we didn't mind getting wet but they still needed to be good hiking shoes. Kylie missed the last part of that and wore her jelly sandals. She struggled in a few spots. Hunter being an awesome big brother that he is carried her over the slippery parts.  

There was this massive boulder that fell down the mountain and landed on smaller rocks. It was cool being able to walk underneath it. 

We came to several spots along the river the kids wanted to stop and play. But Hunter kept saying, not yet! Yes it was cool where we were but the destination was so much better. So we kept trudging along. 

And then we were there. An awesome little oasis. The water was so deep. The kiddo's could jump off the rocks. 

Hunter brought our pool net to catch some tadpoles.  

Kylie brought her little net from a bug kit. 

The water was cold, but felt good on our overheating bodies. 

It was crazy to think we were hiking in Zion National Park Memorial Weekend. We only passed one other group the whole time we were there. Crazy!

We sure love our Sunday afternoon hikes. We are trying to soak them all in knowing to soon it will be to hot to enjoy. We just don't enjoy hiking in 100+ degree weather. But we'll take the 80's for as long as we can. We will definitely come back.

While we were on the water there were a ton of gnats flying around. We knew we were getting bit but they were so small it wasn't bothering us. Monday morning, Maddie woke up with one eye swollen and the other barely able to open. Dang gnats! The rest of us were covered in bites too. Most of our bites swelled but not as bad as Maddie's eye. Pour thing. 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Last Week of School

We are almost there. Just one more week left of school. These last few weeks have been different. It almost feels like it's been summer for a while now. The kiddo's are usually up and doing homework by 8am and then by lunch time they are done. So what do we do in the afternoons to keep us busy besides being on electronics all afternoon? And for most of the kids they were on electronics doing homework all morning. So we definitely need a break from electronics! I'm trying hard and working on getting a little creative. I also think we may all gain a pound or two with all the baking going on.  

Emily made oreo truffles. They were very rich and yummy.  
We've pulled out the snap on toys. 

And the mag formers. 

Maddie tried making cookie bowls for ice cream. 
They didn't turn out as expected so we improvised. 

Brayden has been collecting bugs and keeping them in a mason jar. 

We've also made cinnamon rolls.  

Brayden had a lady bug land on his finger.  
We opened the pool and are ready for summer.

The trampoline is still a big hit at our house. 

Uncle Klynt gave Emily a female rabbit so that she can try her hand at raising bunnies. 

She's been super fun and we named her Zoe. 

We are pretty sure Zoe is pregnant. 
We will probably have bunnies soon. 

We pulled out our stamps and played one afternoon. 

We finished our Easter puzzle. 

The sandbox is always fun too.

Hunter and Kylie making what my kids call "poop cookies". 

On days we remember and don't mind being on electronics for just a little bit longer we take an online drawing class. This guy is fun to watch and follow. It always starts with a number that we add on too. Pretty awesome!

I'll admit I'm a little worried about next week. I'm not sure what we're going to do to keep us entertained all summer long. After all we've already been doing this for 11 weeks now. I hope my kids know that I tried my best at keeping our life as normal as possible during this pandemic. 

Monday, May 04, 2020

Home Centered Church

 Our Prophet, President Nelson in 2018 announced that our 3 hour block for Sunday worship was being reduced to a 2 hour block starting in 2019. The sacrament was to be held every single Sunday. Then Relief Society, Elders Quorum, YW/YM would alternate Sundays with Sunday School. It was a big adjustment. I was serving in the YW at the time. The majority of our girls were to "busy" to attend Tuesday night activities. But they were usually there on Sunday's. But now we were only seeing them twice a month on Sunday's. It made things a little bit more difficult to stay connected. 

Either before or after our new 2 hour block we were then asked to have our "3rd hour" of church at home with our families. Each family was given a manual called Come Follow Me. In 2019 we were studying the New Testament. The manual was broken down into several chapters each week. Our family did our best at reading these chapters on our own all week long. Then Sunday morning (our church didn't start until 1pm) we would meet as a family and discuss the chapter's we had read. The manual helped us pick out the theme in those chapters, gave us some amazing discussion topics and had other resources listed we could learn more from. It wasn't always easy but honestly, I loved it. It was hard at first. I could no longer rely on my Sunday School teacher to teach me every Sunday. I was the Sunday school teacher for my family. I had to prepare each week. I loved that we had the opportunity to discuss it at home and learn from one another. After mom and dad got the hang of it we involved Hunter and Maddie by asking them to lead our home discussion. If they weren't leading then we took the different topics from the manual and assigned them to the kids to be in charge of that portion. It helped encourage the kids to at least get that particular part of the reading done during the week for their portion. Some weeks were better than others but for the most part I felt like our 1st year at having Come Follow Me at home was a success. We tried and did our best. 

Who would have thought that having Come Follow Me at home was just a stepping stone. Just a taste of what was to come. Due to the Covid-19 on March 12, 2020 our church released a statement that they were cancelling Sunday services and weekly gatherings in our church buildings worldwide. Church was NOT cancelled. We were asked to hold our services at home with our immediate family. Our church was following our government leaders by trying to help lower the curve by reducing groups of people to stop the spread of this new virus. It's now been 11 weeks. 

For 10 Sundays now Mom and Dad have been in charge of our Sunday worship. Once again it's been an adjustment but I think we have found a good routine. Although we are having church at home we still get dressed in our sunday best, our hair is done, our teeth is brushed. We look as if we were going to  church, minus shoes. Shoes are not a requirement for church at home. Each Sunday we begin with an opening song, it can be a hymn or a primary song. We then have an opening prayer. Then we have our announcements. We discuss our plans for FHE and make assignments for the following Sunday. We then sing a sacrament hymn. Hunter and Kory take turns blessing the sacrament. After the sacrament someone (Dad, Mom, Hunter, Maddie or Emily) shares a conference talk from this past April they picked to talk on. They do NOT read the talk. They tell in their own words what the talk was about. Maybe share one of the stories this person shared. What can we learn from it? Have we had a similar experience? Were we given a challenge? Then Brayden or Kylie share a story they read in the Children's Friend that week. Once our talks have been shared we move into our Come Follow Me discussion. Again the family has tried to read the assigned chapters during the week so we can actually discuss what each of us learned. I LOVE it! Our church time usually lasts from an hour to an hour in a half. We share personal experiences, we share our testimonies, we learn from one another. Church has been more meaningful these past few weeks with my family. 

I know this won't last for forever. Right now I don't know if I would be disapointed if it did. At some point probably sooner than later we will be able to go back to what we once had. I am going to miss this. Our family time. I will miss our "less" busy Sundays and week nights.

My currnet calling is teaching music in Primary.  I am way out of my comfort zone. Truth be told, it hasn't been my favoite calling. I won't cry when I get released. I spend hours each week trying to prepare a fun, energetic, gospel filled way to teach these kids the stories of Jesus. The songs that teach them the basics of the gospel. There are so many absolutely beautiful songs. I love singing them, I love listening to them on our play list. I just have a hard time teaching them. I spend at least 2 evenings a week plus some time on Saturday preparing for my 15-20 min of teaching songs. It's time consuming.  

Kory is currently serving in the YM. It's stressfull. The councelor over his group wants them to have a Presidency meeting every Sunday either before or after church (Church is now at 9am). Having them before hand most of the boys have a hard time getting there. The boys are suppose to be teaching the lesson but usually aren't very well prepared. It's almost like he still has to have a lesson prepared. If not they end up reading from the manual. Boring! And of course he's gone every Tuesday night for mutual activity. 

Hunter is currently the quorum president of the Priests. He has an awesome adult leader. His leader is great at having weekly activities that the boys actually pick and plan. Hunter loves his weekly activities. His leader is a busy man trying to run his own company. On several occasions it's just to hard to do some of these activities in the middle of the week. So they end up doing their activities on the weekends. Hunter has his presidency meetings on Sunday. 

Maddie is also in her class presidency. She's really struggling. She is in a group of really hard girls. Girls that usually don't come. Girls that when they do come are rude and obnoxious and make it clear they don't want to be there. Her leader, trying to get these girls to come, allow these same girls to plan the weekly activity. On Sunday it's announced but come Tuesday night the girl in charge rarely shows up to see out her activity. So they end up standing around most of the night. For the most part there are only 2 young ladies that come. Maddie and Ellen. They also try to have a presidency meeting.  They try for Sundays but several times end up doing it in the middle of the week one night.  It's pretty rare the entire presidency comes and then nothing is followed through because the weekly activity is being turned over to these other girls. It's been a very frustrating ride for Maddie. 

Emily is the secretary in her class presidency. She loves her leader and being in the presidency. Her group tends to have their presidency meetings on Sundays but lately it hasn't worked due to "family dinners" for some of the girls so they have it one night during the week. Emily loves the activities they plan and see through. Im so glad she is enjoying this time of her life. 

Brayden no longer has scouts but goes to Activity Day's for Boys. They meet each Tuesday at 5. He loves his group and his leaders. 

Kylie is also now in Activity Day's for Girls. They meet each Tuesday at 3:45 right after school. She also loves her leaders and the activities they do. 

Church keeps us busy! It's hard to keep track of where and when everybody is suppose to be. We don't have a set schedule. Jan/Feb we were having a hard time finding the time to do our Come Follow Me on Sundays. Church was done at 11am but then Hunter was usually gone an additional hour taking the sacrament to those who can't attend our church services. Then Kory and Hunter would have BYC once a month and everyone had their presidency meetings at random times through out the afternoon. We weren't able to get into a set schedule like we could in 2019. During the week was even worse. Mondays were generally left alone but the rest of the days were a free for all. Tuesdays our family was participating in activities from 3:45-9. Our whole family was never home together that night. Then quite often someone was having a presidency meeting or activity on Wed/Thur evening instead. Hunter has had several Friday over night activities with his group. This is what I don't miss! This is why a part of me would be content if we never went back. Our family has grown together these past 10 weeks being home together with very little "extras" going on. It's so much easier to have daily family scripture study, to talk about one particular verse at dinner each night, to have our home centered church at the same time every Sunday. I have thoroughly enjoyed this little hiatus that's been given to us. We are being re-charged, re connecting during this time.  I will miss this. I hope that somehow when things resume we can taper down on the "busy" of life. Each day I am learning the quote "less is more". I love my family, they are my everything!