Monday, December 14, 2020

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.....

                   It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas..... We got our front room done! Our baseboards are on and everything has been painted. WooHoo! One day we will install a corner wood burning fireplace but for now it will hold our Christmas Tree. 

        We decorated our tree for family home evening so that everyone would be home. My days our numbered with these kiddo's of mine. 

I am really trying to capture the small moments in our home this year. The tradition's we do every single year to celebrate our Savior's birth. My teens believe they should be able to go hang out with friends every single night. So having everyone home at once isn't always easy. The younger kids helped me make a paper chain with scripture references we wrote on the inside. Every night we take a chain and read the reference by candle light. 

This young lady talked us into doing the 12 Days of Christmas to a young family in our ward. She decorated an oatmeal container and made homemade chocolate chip cookies to put inside. 

This is my FAVORITE Christmas movie. I just love it! Last year I had tickets to see the play and I took Emily with me. Thanks to Covid this year there were no plays. My older kids think they've seen it to many times and don't want to watch it. So this year I turned it on during a mutual night. My younger kids snuggled up with me and together we laughed, and laughed, and laughed. 

Emily helped me wrap all of Christmas Books. 

My parents gave us these rocking reindeer's when Hunter and Maddie were toddlers. They only come out for the month of December. They are still in great condition. My kids love these! I know my kids are getting bigger and these rocking reindeer's are staying the same size. One day I may pass these on. But for now I love seeing my kids on them. 

Brayden is 11 and Kylie is 8. They look forward to unpacking our Little People Nativity, our wooden train, and paper mache gingerbread house. They play with them together almost every single day during the month. 


Uncle Rich sends us a new Christmas book every year. The kids look forward to getting it. We love the books he send us. 

Our family doesn't have much of a sweet tooth. But during December we do have a few favorites we like to make. Emily learned how to make oreo truffles in young women's. She made some for our family. Very sweet but good. 

A neighbor brought us hot chocolate bombs. So fun and yummy!
We put hot milk in a mug and then drop the bomb. 

You can see the bomb begin to melt and then pop!

Out comes hot chocolate powder and marshmallows. 
These have been so fun to make and then drink. 

I love this time of year. 
It seems we get to spend a little more quality time as a family. This is our last year with kids at home. Hunter will probably be on his mission for the next 2 Christmas's. When he get's home Maddie will be 19 and planning on serving a mission. For the next 3-4 years our family won't be together. I want to make the most out of this year. I will miss them. I will miss this. I will miss our current family dynamics.  

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Fall Break

Fall Break almost didn't happen for our family this year. Our original plan was to take the kids to Mesa Verde in Colorado. We just finished our Native American lessons during Home School and I thought this would be fun. But thanks to Covid the National Park has opened the over looks only. So no hiking, no exploring the cliff dwellings. Bummer!

Next we thought we would go to Panaca, NV and collect pine nuts. Due to the lack of rain this year the pine nuts are pretty scarce. It didn't help that I couldn't find a VRBO or 2 hotel rooms for our family. 

I had finally decided that we would do a stay cation and just go somewhere different each day. Then Kory remembered his Uncle Ronny offering his cabin to us in Alton that Kory had built the cabinets for. So Kory called to see if it was available for the weekend. It was! Yay!

So Wednesday night we made the decision to leave Friday morning. We drove to Alton where we unloaded our bags, stocked the fridge and then hit the road again. Our first stop was Mammoth Cave on Cedar Mountain. 

We stopped and grabbed Izzy Bee to come with us for the day. 

Unfortunately, to protect the bats the large cave is closed from Oct- Apr. But we were able to skinny on through the two smaller caves. 

Brings back some fun memories when we use to come to these caves often. 

After Mammoth we went to the Ice Cave. There wasn't a speck of ice but oh boy was it cool and dark inside. 

Brayden found a log he climbed up into a small cavern. 

What's fun about the ice cave is that you have to "repel" down to get inside.  The rope is used to help you get back up too. 

The Ice Cave is pretty small. We usually don't spend a lot of time here but it's always fun to see how much ice is inside.

After the ice cave we hiked Cascade Falls. 
It's a super easy and short hike but oh so beautiful!

I love seeing the color change in leaves. 

The waterfall was much to be desired. You can really see how the lack of rain has effected it this year. Not much of a waterfall at all.  

After Cascade we were ready for a little relaxing. So we headed back to Uncle Ronny's cabin.

The cabin has no wi-fi, cable, etc.  There was a tv and vcr downstairs with several John Wayne movies. Kids felt like playing with new toys and games instead.  It was so nice being together. 

Saturday we spent our time near Bryce Canyon. First stop was Losee Canyon where we hiked up to the arches. 

People spend thousands of dollars to fly across the ocean to see what we have in our own back yard. I'm so glad we took the time to make it our vacation this year. When we were living in the area we came to Bryce Canyon several times. Brayden and Kylie were so little they don't remember seeing it. Our Covid numbers have spiked and seem to be out of control. I wasn't terribly worried about coming into contact with a lot of people but it was on my mind. We hardly saw anyone else. There was one family quite a bit in front of us and another family behind us. When we came to a fork in the road we went left, they went right. We never saw anyone else again. It was like having the place all to our selves. 

All the different rock formations are just amazing!

Brayden found what he was hoping would be an Native American hogan. Probably not! But it makes me feel good to know he learned something these past few weeks at home school. He climbed inside to see what it was like. With a little work he said he could make it comfortable. 

We live in such a beautiful world. 

Sometimes we get so caught up that we miss the little miracles in our lives, we miss seeing Heavenly Father's finger prints, helping and guiding us. He helped us this day and I'm thankful that I could recognize that. 

Leaving Losee Canyon we had one more stop to make, Willis Canyon. Some friends of ours who use to live in the area told us it was a "must see". Leaving Losee Canyon I put Willis Canyon in google maps and we began following it's directions. After conversations with friends I thought the turn off was after Cannonville and maybe even Henrieville. We are in the middle of Cannonville and I see our GPS is telling us to turn up ahead to go to a park. Immediately my maps then tells me we have lost service and it stops working. Do we turn? My destination wasn't a park, it was Willis Canyon. Thinking I must have touched or done something we decide to continue on down the hwy. 15 miles later, we have passed Henrieville it is obvious we are not where we are suppose to be. Out of no where we get reception so Kory pulls over and I call our friends because GPS still won't work. She tells me the turn off is in Cannonville not afterwards. Oops! 

So we turn around and go back. Once we make the turn off the main road my GPS starts working again. Weird! We eventually make it to a dirt road. We knew it was a dirt road but was told it's pretty easy on a car. A mile or two in we get flagged down by a park ranger. He lets us know the road is pretty bad, worse than what we just came through, and we wouldn't make it in our car without ripping the bumper off. He suggests we turn around or park when we get to the 2nd cluster of cars and walk 1.5 miles in. Thinking the road we were on wasn't bad at all like the ranger was portraying it was we decide to keep going. We soon pass the 1st cluster of cars. Yep, the road was definitely worse, lots of ruts and gouges in the road. Going carefully and slowly we make it through with Hunter following us in his even lower to the ground car. We had no issues, just took it easy. We continue on until we come upon the 2nd cluster of parked cars. It's bad! We can see it from the car. We pull over and Kory gets out to examine the road. He's hoping to see a path we can take around/through the ruts. These ruts run from one side of the road to the opposite side. And they were deep, like 12-24 inches deep. You can see where tires have spun out. There's random pieces of cars that have been pulled to the side of the road. These ruts aren't in just one spot it was one right after the other. Kory's walking back to the car to tell us he's not seeing a way around (we really don't want a 1.5 mile hike in) when a truck comes around the bend coming towards us. All of a sudden they stop and yell out Kory's name. It was a cousin, Tracy Johnson and her husband Moyle, who live in Tropic.  

Tracy and Moyle had been working on their family cemetery where their adult daughter, April was buried a few weeks ago (died from cancer). They were headed into town to pick up family members to help, knowing they wouldn't be able to make it out in their cars. They were so nice and kind! We hopped in their truck, they turned around and took us the last two miles to the trail head. Then they said they'd be back in 2-2.5 hours to pick us up and take us back to our cars. The little miracles we were given that day. We were are all a little grumpy. It was early afternoon, we hadn't had lunch, we had gotten lost, the 30min drive had now been over an hour, the "easy" road was not easy and we felt we weren't getting anywhere. Some of us were ready to turn around and go back to the cabin. But some of us didn't want to go back, we kept trying. If the GPS hadn't stopped working, if we hadn't gotten "lost", if the road hadn't been as bad as it was we would have missed Kory's cousin. Because all these little things happened we were at the right place at the right time. They wouldn't have recognized Kory driving in our car. They recognized Kory because he was walking right next to the road.  Heavenly Father knew we wouldn't have made it. He knew I desperately wanted to bring my kids here. He made it happen by all nuisance's taking place that day!

What a wonderful time we had! This was our favorite part of our trip. The canyon doesn't normally have water running through it this time of year. The water this day was the irrigation run off from Kory's cousins field.  At the beginning we tried to keep our shoes dry. 

But then there were spots that you couldn't NOT walk or jump over it. And then some decided it was fun to walk through the water. 

Here's Emily trying to walk over and around it. 

After walking through the canyon it would open up. We were surrounded by tree's in the open area. After a short distance we would be back in the canyon walls. 

It is such a beautiful hike walking through the canyon. 

I am so glad we were able to hike Willis Canyon. The memories we made. 

My favorite picture!
 Brayden helping lil' sis climb up the wall. 

So exciting we made it!

Moyle picked us up and drove us back to our cars where we headed back to the cabin. 

We spent the evening playing card games and then visiting with family. 

We went to church Sunday, had lunch with Dustin and Harmony and then visited Klynt and Carrie. 
We had a great weekend get away. I'm so thankful for our Fall break this year.