Friday, December 7, 2018

Stringtown Railroad

We had an amazing Christmas activity this week.  On Tuesday, one of the parents of my fencing class had gotten us tickets to the Stringtown Railroad.  It's 6 neighbors in Lindon that got together and built a mile and a half long train track around their properties.  Every Christmas they donate the time and their homes to host as many people as they can for about two weeks.  You first go into the garage and watch Polar Express until they call your for your ride. Then they have the engineer punch your magic tickets and get you on the train.  They have Christmas music playing and drive you out to another home where they have Santa in his workshop.  You get to talk with him and then he talks to the kids about the real reason for Christmas.  Then they get you back on the train and turn on Away in the Manger.  They drive you past depictions of Christ's life and miracles from birth to resurrection.  At the end, they have tables with cards for missionaries that you can sign and send.  It was a great experience and I have no idea how I'd never heard of it before.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Ready for Christmas

We finally decorated for Christmas.  I don't decorate for any other holiday, but I love Christmas lights and reminders of Christ's birth.  We really only put lights on the front of the house and put up whatever we have in the living room, but it makes me very happy.  Especially when I don't have to do it by myself.  Ada was a great helper.  I think she had just as much fun decorating as I used to.  Seth told me for days that it was time to put lights on the tree.  Evelyn asked to put stockings up because she made me a present that she wanted to hide in my stocking.  Sam was very ready to pull out the Christmas books.  We always have a goal to read a Christmas story ever day before Christmas.... We've never actually accomplished it, but Jer and the kids sure do their best.  I love seeing them all huddled on the couch reading together.  That's one of my favorite family traditions.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Pictures from camera

I love my camera very much, but pictures from my phone are so much more convenient to take and post.  Here are a couple I found on my camera today.  Not amazing ones, but I liked them.

I'm not sure when this was, but Seth and Ellie are cute cousins.  They like playing together for sure.

These are Sam fencing in his borrowed equipment. That was a pretty good lunge though.

Ada was a great sport.  She was kind to everyone and very brave when talking to everyone.

Sam fencing little Ada.

Grumpy kids

I've been having some really grumpy and resistant kids the last couple of weeks.  Evelyn had a very emotional day last week and at the end of it she finally came and cuddled on my lap.  She told me that her favorite aide and reading teacher had left the school that day.  (Her son has some heart defects and she was staying home to care for him during a set of surgeries).  She was very upset and asked if she could write her an email.  I set it up, she wrote a quick one and then she was a lot better. 

Sam had a very hard week.  He was snarky, rude, disrespectful and resistant to all adults that had any authority over him.  Turns out that his best friend Martin was moving soon and he was throwing a tantrum over it.  We talked to him, I have Martin's number and he can text when he wants, we put him in a week of electronics time out for being rude to everyone around him and he stopped doing it.  He wrote apologies to all his teachers and my personal favorite, the group of kids that he eats lunch with set up a seat of honor for Martin after he was gone... they'd leave the seat empty and toast him with their milk/chocolate milk.  That's his second best friend gone in 6 months.  It's so sad to lose people that you love so much.  Evelyn was friends with his sister, Esther, too.  I wonder if that had anything to do with her emotionally charged day too?

As an adult, you'd think that I'd be used to it too.  It's still hard when you miss your family and friends.  That's one thing that I learned from my Grandpa Ellis.  When my grandma died, he dedicated her grave and bore his testimony about being with those we love after death.  On my mission I learned to love many and haven't seen them since.  The 20 years since then, Facebook has made it a little easier, but I've learned to love many people in those 20 years.  I'm not ready for the Second Coming, but I'm sure glad that we'll have the chance to see and love those that we can't here.  In my Ward, many of the ladies were getting together and chatting in the mornings about what can be done to be better friends.  They all felt like they were on the outside, but they were all there together.  I used to reach out to those in our Ward very often.  After Seth was born, it was a lot harder to.  I think it's time to again.  I know I'll meet and lose many more friends along the way, but they aren't really lost.  To all my friends who are gone, I hope to see you soon, but know that you're not lost to  me!  For those that are still here next to me, I hope you stay for a while. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Looking through

Looking through pictures, I found this one from Jer's phone.  It was Evelyn and the other girls her age at the Christmas party.  I thought this was hilarious.  All the girls are princesses... And Evelyn's a witch.

Face Time

I'm posting this for my parents.... Along with all these different scenarios, my parents all get the hug and the hongi. My kids try to hug and hongi my parents through the phone and end up just showing their shirt and their mouths.

Holiday doings (two week post)

Over the last two weeks, we've had a lot of goings on, some sicknesses and I'm still catching up in the house. 

To begin with, my friend Robyn moved across country.  She was very kind and donated most of her furniture to Cristina's family, but she wasn't able to pack very much of what she wanted to take with her in her car.  So it's been in my garage and I'm trying to pack the boxes in ways that won't break anything and then ship them.  My Ministering companion said that she can help me with that.  Her husband gets at-cost shipping at work.  I just have to weigh the boxes and give her dimensions and she'll get Robyn a quote for how much it would be to ship them.  (That was two Fridays ago and I'm still working on it.) 

The day after I helped her move, (which is another story.  I took our trailer up to help her move out of her apartment.... and none of the people that said they would help showed up.  She and I moved everything until I had to leave to pick up my kids from school... we were packing her in SLC... and the mattress was packed wrong in the trailer.  After stopping to adjust my load twice I ended up driving on the frontage roads instead of braving the freeway.  It took me 2 1/2 hours to get home.  Jer was very kind and picked up the kids from school and took a sick day from work so that we would be safe driving home.)  on Saturday we got together with my family.  I love doing it, but sometimes it's hard to get logistics down.  So worth it though.  My one brother works nights, my one sister has a rotating schedule, my other brother works in Idaho and my other sister is being discouraged to travel far from home during this part of the pregnancy.  But even with all that, we were able to get together and chat.  We made a Christmas package for our missionary parents and the boys all played Magic on the floor.  Somehow, Jer and I got stuck in a motorcade course on the way up to Sharon's house.  We must have driven into the parade route right before they blocked it off and then we drove around trying to get out but all the exits were blocked too.  It was the funeral procession for the Ogden mayor that was killed in Afghanistan.  Everything I've heard about him was good.  He was very well liked apparently.

Over that same weekend was the Orson Gygi chocolate sale.  Jer and his Dad use so much chocolate every year that we wait until their big sale and buy it in bulk.  It saves us a few hundred dollars a year, but it makes for an impressive display when we're separating them out. 

Jer and I also got to go to our last Symphony of the season.  I enjoy spending time with Jer and my in-laws.  I also like good music.  I cringe at how much it costs to go to the symphony, so season tickets are what Jer requests every Father's Day.  This time, we went up a little early so that we could look at the Macy's Christmas windows.  They were very artfully done.  We also had to walk through the animal protestors for the second time this season.  I don't know what they think we're all doing to the animals, but I'm pretty sure that it's not my same perspective.  I figure that as long as you aren't abusing them, they are for us to use as food and pets.  I don't believe in making your pets "part of the family" and I don't believe in being a vegetarian to spare animals. 

The next Monday was our mini-fencers class competition.  I love teaching these littles to fence, but this class was particularly difficult for me.  I had two 4 year old boys that had to be taught to follow instructions, one 6 year old girl that doesn't take disappointment well, and Evelyn who has had a lot of adjustments in the last 2 months. Evelyn worked very hard and won all of her bouts, so she was the class champion.  I'm very proud of her.  She's wanted to win that title for the last two years.  Seth finished all his bouts and while he didn't win any, I was just proud that he finished.  Not bad for his first time. 


Young Women's has been a challenge for the last couple of weeks.  I missed last Sunday and Wed because of a bug going through the family.  I don't think it was the flu, but I think it was a mild version of norovirus.  Each person took turns with upset stomachs and a small fever.  No one ever threw up and each person was only sick 1-2 days... but because of how contagious it is I tried to keep everyone away from people for 2 days afterwards.  We were all better by the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, but Evelyn caught a cold right before Thanksgiving.  Walter gets really bad if he catches a cold and Aubrey just had her scoliosis surgery and we didn't want to pass it on to her.  Jer took the family to Thanksgiving with the Hansens and Jim and Judy.  I stayed home with Evelyn and hung out.  I made her whatever she wanted for lunch, we played Dominion twice at her request, watched a movie and again at her request we watched Minecraft youtube videos.  I hate when my kids do that... but I have to admit that some of them are pretty funny. 

We went and picked up our tree in the middle of all this too.  That one of my favorite activities.

The day after Thanksgiving, Jeremy made an amazing Thanksgiving dinner.  He once described himself as a recreational cook.  That suits me just fine.  He cooks on holidays and bakes bread for fun a couple times a year.  I helped in the kitchen, but he did most of the heavy lifting.  It turned out delicious.  The only thing that I think he wished worked out better was the pies.  We spent all night doing pies a couple days before.  The first batch of pumpkin pies baked beautifully, but Jer realized he'd forgotten the salt in the dough.  The second batch of pumpkin pies were done at the very end... after all the other pies were done and out.  Jer had decided to remake the pumpkin pies after I'd gone to bed and he forgot to put eggs in them so they never solidified. He was pretty upset that he'd make two mistakes like that in one night, but everything worked out and the pies.... especially the apple.... were delicious.  We invited Janelle and Seth over for our Thanksgiving.  We chatted and cooked.  I enjoyed it very much.  Ada's addition to the dinner was that she wanted to make Italian sodas.  So we did.  It was fun and it made me happy to see Ada mixing drinks and handing them out.  Super cute. My phone was dead, so Seth took a picture with his phone... I'm going to have to ask for a copy.

All the Thanksgiving sales are done for furniture, so I think I'll just repair our couch and try again next year.  We don't have the money for it this year anyways. 

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, our neighbor and Evelyn's good friend, Leilei, was baptized.  We got to go and I was happy to see Evelyn happy.  We left a little early though because Ada and Sam had a fencing competition at the fencing club.  This is why I teach fencing.  In exchange for an hour of my time every week we get free fencing club fees and equipment use for our whole family (Usually $100-$150/person/month).  We aren't part of the National circuit mostly because there's a lot of money and travel expenses involved, but twice a year the club hosts an unsanctioned competition.  There's a little scrambling to find equipment for two kids that don't have their own (which is why Evelyn didn't participate this time even though she could, it would have been harder to find equipment for three and she's not used to the electric gear yet.) They did an amazing job.  They were split into two pools.  "More experienced" and "Less experienced".  Even though they both have the same amount of experience Ada was placed in the more group and Sam in the less.  I'm guess their height and the fact that the coach's daughter and Ada are really good friends had the deciding factor in that one. Both of them found it really challenging, but I felt it was especially good for Sam.  He would be an amazing fencer if he'd be willing to listen to those that are in charge instead of being a snarky pill.  Sam lost his first bout horribly.  I took the time to do some coaching and to point out that the ones that were doing well were the kids that listened and obeyed the coach.  Sam took that to heart, and he decided to let me coach him through the rest of his bouts and he won the next 5.  He came really close to winning in the elimination round too.  The same girl that beat him at the beginning of the tournament only beat him by 1 in the elimination round.  Ada was being shy about fencing.  You could see her kind of build a box around herself and hope that no one else would enter that box.  She never went out of it and only defended herself when someone came close.  I think part of this is because she was put in the higher tier for the first time.  That can be pretty intimidating.  When I talked to her, all she would say was that she wanted to do everything on her own and everyone kept trying to help her.  I tried to tell her that they were supposed to help her.... that's the purpose of an unsanctioned tournament.  I also asked the other fencers in her pool to wait and see if she could figure things out before coming to her aid.  That helped a little bit, but there were still pieces that she hasn't been able to do by herself... like hooking herself up to the electrical equipment with one hand.  I tried to let her do it herself, but it was hard not to jump in and help when I saw a need.  Eventually Jer jumped in to help coach her.  She tends to listen to him better than me.  After he talked to her, she started lunging and doing more than just defending herself.  (She's very good at parrying by the way).  There was one lunge in particular that she reached out and stayed reaching until she got the point.  Like Sam, she's a good little fencer.... they both just have the one thing that keeps them from progressing.  Sam's is pride and Ada's is fear.  She didn't win any bouts, but she did eventually get some points.  I was very proud to see her overcoming her fear.  She fought the other Ada in the direct elimination rounds.  It was funny to cheer for Ada and hear that everyone was cheering for "Ada!"  Out of 15 kids, Sam and Ada got 9th and 10 place.  I was pretty happy with that.  I don't think they were.  What they don't realize is that most of the kids that got higher than them live fencing.  We fence 2 hours a week.  They fence two to three hours 3-4 times a week.   I just don't think winning is worth the time investment.  I think the learning opportunities and the exercise are the most important.

Sunday, November 25, 2018


Do you know how much I love hearing 9 year old Sam reading to 7 and 4 year old siblings just because he was playing with them when he found the book he wanted to be reading in the toys. (He's reading them Micheal Vey)

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Memory lane

I've been getting several requests to look at newborn pictures or wedding pictures.  I think that's great, but I don't have a photo blog.  I should, but I don't.  I was trying to find the pictures to send to different people and realized that my blog tags only go back about 3 years.  I started at the beginning of my blog and I'm adding tags so that I can be a little more organized.  It's been fun remembering new mom age and when the older three were toddlers.  I've been reading them out to the kids and we've been getting lots of good giggles out of it.  Ada even said, "Is this why you keep a blog Mom?"  Yes... it most definitely is.

Unfortunately, when I've tagged a couple of them the were republished and are now out of order.  I think that only happened to two posts, but grrr.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

To answer a question

To answer what several people have asked... do you have a CABIN at Bear Lake...

No.  I do not.  My grandparents family does... It was built by my Great-Grandfather, and we take weeks throughout the year.  It is not a cabin in the traditional sense... it's a room with a pretty good kitchen, three bathrooms, and we sleep in tents outside.  I've been going since I was 3 months old, and I think it's one of the best places on earth.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Can't catch up

So life has been so busy that I haven't been able to catch up on anything... laundry, yard work, dishes, mightyauthors work, and blogging. Well... I've had a million things I wanted to blog about but I can only remember two right now!

Ada is so funny. When she wants me to tell her I love her she says, "Mommy, I'm so proud of you." I'm not sure if she spent any of her precious time with my parents at Bear Lake saying that... but it's really cute. She got to go with them and my sisters and Sophie and the twins to the lake. She had a blast and keeps talking about wanting to go to Bear Lake.

Sammy put himself to sleep twice yesterday... once he climbed into Ada's bed and slept and the second time he just fell asleep in the middle of the memory cards. Too cute.

I'm trying to post pictures of both of those but unfortunately I think gmail is having issues... I'll try again later.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Newest picture

Here's the last baby blanket that I crocheted. I made this one for my pen pal friend from high school who's having her first girl... I thought I'd make it extra girly just because it's a girl after she's had so many miscarriages.