Sunday, August 30, 2009

6 Reasons Why I LOVE August

Reason #1 and #2:
On August 7th we celebrated Ethan and Ella's 7th birthday. Our tradition is cake and presents for breakfast and then we continue to party all day long. Ethan got a DS....he is completely hooked on playing video games so we thought, "Let's get him another video game playing device!" He was excited about the Pokemon game and loved eating cake for breakfast.
Grandma came over with presents and gave Ethan Star Wars legos. She gave Ella a cupcake maker, a Peek-a-boo Barbie, and a Hello Kitty necklace. (which she made, by the way)
Ella is our dancing diva so we got her an I-pod and an I-home to play it on. Travis put a bunch of fun music on it. Ella's favorite pastime is dancing. She loves that thing!!
My sister, Jamie, made the cakes and they were fabulous! She did Tinker bell for Ella and a Bakugan ball for Ethan. She did such an amazing job......
Ethan and Ella celebrated at Bounce U with friends and family. It was such a great time!
Reason #3
Back to School!
Am I terrible? I love summer time but I love getting those kids back to school. There is something about having a works for me.

Ethan and Ella started 1st grade. Ella was nervous and kept saying, "1st grade is going to be so hard!" She is doing incredibly well so far. She is a great student. Her writing is immaculate. Her teacher, Ms. Matthew, told me what wonderful kids Ethan and Ella are to have in her classroom. They listen and obey and do their work. I have to brag just a little bit.
Olivia is a big 6th grader now! She is happy about this and has been so much fun lately. She loves life and is enjoying school and her friends. She is really growing up and I'm so proud of her.
The one thing I don't love doing each morning is packing 3 lunches. It kind of stresses me out. I like them to be healthy yet fun and have variety. I also have 3 different taste buds to consider. I usually pack them a sandwich; either turkey or pb & j on homemade bread. (it's just my thing) It also includes a fruit or veggie (or both, sometimes). Then I add pretzels, baked chips or Goldfish. And of course, some kind of treat. ( I start out with homemade cookies, but by the 3rd week I resort to store bought a lot of the time!) I even made chocolate pudding last week and they loved that! They also get a 100% juice box. Sometimes they buy, about once a week. This gives me a break. Last night I had a nightmare that I forgot to make their lunches. This is how much I stress about those darn lunches!
Reason #4
My pup, Ruby is potty-trained!!!!!!
She is such a sweetheart and having her house trained makes her that much sweeter.
Max, the cat is her best bud and even likes her crate......of course I just washed the blankets.
Reason #5
Olivia's 11th birthday was on August 15th. Her Aunt Jamie made her a "Treasure Chest" coconut cream cake that went with her Hawaiian Luau party theme. She planned the whole bash on her own. She is quite the party planner.
Olivia wants to learn to sew and got her first sewing machine.

Olivia had 12 girls over to swim, eat, party and sip on tropical drinks. They were such a crazy, fun bunch!!!
Grandma is always so thoughtful and gave Olivia several homemade pieces of custom jewelry. Olivia loves them!
Reason #6
Travis celebrates his birthday on August 15th. (Yes, Olivia and Travis have the same birthday)
Poor Travis. As usual, we spent Travis' special day making preparations for Olivia's party. He is always such a great sport about it. I made his favorite cake......chocolate cake with raspberry filling and buttercream frosting.
We had family over to celebrate on Sunday night. Travis and his dad and brother are hilarious. I can never get a good picture of them together. They are way too goofy to be adults sometimes.
Olivia with Grandpa Williams.
My sister-in-law, Jodi, with my darling niece, Ivy.
Travis with his kids......Olivia gave him a plant for his office and he got a fishing rod for his next fishing trip in September.
Travis and I went up to Flagstaff over the weekend and hiked to Humphrey's Peak. It was a 9 mile hike round trip with a 5000 foot ascent. We had a great time but it was a super grueling day. Even though it was tough, I'm glad we did it.......what fun to be with Travis and the mountains were beautiful!

A few shots of my nieces from a recent photo shoot I did......

Miah and Maizy
Jamie with her girls

This is my sweetie niece, Paisley. (10 months old)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Our Utah Trip

It finally happened. I have actually made it to a point where "going on vacation" can include my children. Travis and I had the most amazing trip to Utah and Lake Powell in July with our kids. Even the 11 hour drive was pleasant. We stayed 5 days in Utah with some dear friends, then met my parents and sister at Lake Powell for a few days on the lake. We packed a lot into our 10 day trip and yet everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable time. We can't wait to do it again next year!

My dad has a time-share houseboat that everyone enjoyed staying on. My Uncle Delos camped next to us and we got to overlap our trip with theirs for a day.
The kids loved taking exploring boat rides......
Surprisingly, one of the highlights for my older 3 kids was cliff-jumping, a family favorite at Lake Powell for decades. We found a perfect spot with a 25 foot cliff. Olivia was looking over with some reservations. Ethan walked right up to the edge and said "This is how you do it" and jumped off without a second thought. It was completely unexpected and hilarious to me. Earlier that day he had been saying how scared of heights he is. I don't think he had a problem with heights.

The absolute favorite activity at Lake Powell was the tube. All the kids went crazy for rides on the tube. They couldn't get enough of it. This is Ella and my niece Miah.
Another cliff jumping stop. Travis is always a good sport to go with the kids.
This is my absolute favorite picture of me. My dad took us on craziest tube ride. He had us flying across the water and waves for a long time. My arms hurt for a week after this one.

Ryan is one of my favorite people. He is 4 but loved the tube rides more than anyone. He kept giving my dad the "thumbs up" to go faster. He is such a thrill seeker.
I think I know where he gets it. Travis did all kinds of stunts on the tube.
My dad is 63 and had open heart surgery in November. Look at him ski!!! He's amazing......
Me and Ella on a boat ride........
Travis took my dad and Jamie on a wild ride. He actually rolled my dad out of the tube in a backwards somersault.
My mom did water balloons with all the kids on the beach.
We explored Face Canyon one day. It was such an adventure. It reminded me of when I was a kid and we took trips each year to Lake Powell. I loved to explore remote and beautiful places. We always go to jump into the cool, clean water and take a swim.
Travis got up on a ski his first try and skied amazingly well. It's been a couple years but you'd never know it!
While staying with the Quist Family, we took the kids on a hike up Timpanogos Mountain to the caves. It was tough for our younger kids but they all made it!

The kids loved the inside of the caves. It far exceeded their expectations. How often does that happen? It was brilliant and beautiful in there! It was also a cool 45 degrees. Nice!

We took the kids to the new Oquirrh Mountain Temple in West Jordan. We were able to go through it since it was during the open house. It was stunning on the outside and inside. It was such a treat to get to take our kids there. I remember going through the Jordan River Temple during the open house in 1981. I think I was about 8 years old. I still remember how beautiful and special that was for me as a young child.
We also spent some time at Temple Square in SLC. We saw the Joseph Smith movie and walked around the gardens and the Salt Lake Temple. There is such a peaceful feeling on those grounds.

Another huge trip highlight was the 39th Annual Demolition Derby in Heber. My white trash roots came out as I enjoyed watching cars and trucks smash and annihilate each other. It was fabulous fun! It went until midnight and ended with a spectacular fireworks show. I definitely want to see that again.
We were in the line of fire as mud flew over the sides and sprayed us a few times.

We stopped at the Williams' Homestead in Wanship, where Travis' family lives. The kids enjoyed feeding the horses and cows and riding the tree swing.
Travis taught the boys how to suck the nectar out of honeysuckles.
The kids loved the huge dandelions by the roadside.

We went up to Salt Lake on the 24th for the Days of 47 Parade. We got to see Pres. Eyring and his wife.

What a great trip! We loved every bit of it and truly can't wait to do it all again next summer.