Jun 21, 2012

Eagle Scouts

We’re proud as can be to report that Trevor and Jaden were awarded their Eagle Scout – the highest rank Boy Scouting!

And the Eagle Scout Court of Honor went great.
When 6:00 rolled around there were only a handful of people (mostly those taking part in the program) plus our family and I thought that it would turn out to just be a quaint award ceremony after all. But then all of a sudden a ton of people started streaming in and more chairs were being set up. I don’t know how many people there were in all, but it filled the part of the cultural hall we were in very nicely. And I was told that the Eagle’s nest had about 35 men in it. What a great support for the boys!

And the awards ceremony went great! We had Ryan Marshall be the Master of Ceremonies and Cameron Stewart (YM Pres.), Denny Crockett, Pete Harmon, and Bishop Chris Call have a role in it. And they had great things to say. And when it came time for Trevor to award his Mentor pin, he got choked up giving it to Michelle. Jaden gave his to Ryan Marshall and he was flattered.

Then we showed the video I put together of the boys on their path from cubs to Eagle. I figure I spent about 15 hours putting it together. And when it concluded Trevor turned to me and gave me a big smile, a “knucks”, and a “good job dad”. Very nice.

Congratulations Trevor and Jaden!
- Love mom and Dad

Apr 19, 2012

Birthday Getaway - Arches National Park

A few years ago Michelle and I decided we needed to take more trips as just our family. It seemed that all of the vacations we took were with extended family. (Don't get us wrong, we love those vacations.) But we weren’t really taking any vacations with just our kids. We also figured that rather than looking at distant places, we should experience more of what Utah has to offer – to go to places that people come from around the world to see right in our own backyard.

So for Spring Break this year we booked a hotel in Moab and set out this past weekend for Arches National Park. It also so happened that this weekend was my birthday.

What a great way to celebrate!

I took Friday off work and we headed South that morning. And I have to add how cool traveling is now that the kids are older and we don’t have to worry about entertaining them the whole drive. We arrived at Arches soon after lunch and headed right into the park and to the first few natural arches in the park – the North and South Windows and Double Arch. I think Double Arch was my favorite because of how thick the arches are and how cool it is to see two arches meet together like that.

We were so impressed the whole trip with just how amazing all the arches and rock formations are. Photos just can’t do justice to the size of these amazing natural formations.

After hiking a bit in the park Friday afternoon, we headed into Moab, checked into our hotel and swam in the pool. And the kids had a blast. The hotel had a cool twisty slide into the pool and the kids played on that a ton.

Then we took a walk down Main Street, had a good pizza dinner, and kicked back in the hotel. We flipped through some of the channels on TV and I got a kick out of what we ended up watching – The $25,000 Pyramid. Brooke loved it and even the next day was hoping to catch it on TV again.

On Saturday the weather was very overcast and we started out with the hike to Delicate Arch. That was our favorite hike of the trip because the scenery and terrain were just so neat. We liked hiking on the slickrock and were amazed at the arch. Again, it was just amazing to see the arch live after being familiar with photos of it. The surrounding area wasn’t anything like we had imagined. We had pictured an open rolling area around it with the arch out on the end. But it turns out that it’s on the edge of a type of natural bowl and drops off deep just behind the arch. Awesome stuff!

We then stopped for a picnic (finding a spot with the least amount of wind) and the kids climbed around on more rocks. Climbing all over was another highlight of the trip for all of us. That’s one of the things I just love about Southern Utah – so many things to climb around on. Even after long hikes, Caleb always had enough energy to climb and jump all over.

Our last hike was to Landscape Arch. It was pretty windy at that point so we didn’t go any further on the trail to other arches or to Dark Angel, but we sure enjoyed the scenery.

Once again we went back to the hotel in the late afternoon to swim and then head out for dinner. Since we were celebrating my birthday, we didn’t want arguments about what everyone wanted for dinner so we headed to the Moab Diner (trying to get a small town experience). And the kids loved it because they had such a variety to choose from. Brooke had pancakes and hash browns, Trevor had French Toast, Jaden had a burrito, Caleb had steak, Michelle had a salad, and I had a breakfast burrito – everyone was satisfied.

Then we went to Cakes & Cones for dessert and my birthday cupcake. While Brooke was hoping to watch the game show again, we caught the start of a movie and ended up watching Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

What a way to celebrate my birthday!

Sunday morning we went to one of the local LDS wards for church and then headed home. On our way we drove out to Dead Horse Point State Park for lunch and the amazing views of the canyons and the Colorado River. It was still a little cold and windy, but we didn’t get rained (or snowed) on at all and had a great time.

Here's to beautiful Utah!

Mar 8, 2012

Driver's License

Watch out world-- there's a new driver in town...
And I'm pretty sure he's never driven in snow (it's been that kind of winter).

Once spring comes again you should be safe.  :)

Congratulations, Trevor!

(Food for Thought:  If you get your license on Leap Year's Day, does that mean it doesn't expire for 25 years? Hmmm.....)

Mar 7, 2012

Birthday Fun

In January, we celebrated the birthday of my new favorite 14 year old:  Jaden!

(Isn't he cute?)

The card he is looking at gave us all the giggles:  "We live in the land of microwave bacon.  How could your birthday not be happy?"

Just before the big day we found out about a pretty unique place to have fun and decided it would be the perfect place for a party!

Have you ever wondered how many different ways you can launch yourself into a pit filled with huge foam blocks?  No?  Well allow us to share some of the ways we tried:

1) Climb a rock wall and jump into it...

2)  Swing from a trapeze and fall into it...


3) Bounce off a trampoline and somersault into it...

4) Climb into a giant wheel and have your friends roll you into it...

5)  Or even have someone tackle you into it...



And many more ways I'm sure are too dangerous to mention.  :)
It definitely turned out to be the perfect party place for 14 year old boys!

Good thing Trent was there to guard the camera bag and my purse (it was a really good book)!

Feb 19, 2012

LHS Sweethearts Ball

 Last month, Trevor was asked out for a girls' choice dance by a friend of his named Kylie.  She brought over a giant bucket filled with sweedish fish and a note taped to the front. It read "Trevor, you are the Sweedish fish in the sea, will you go to Sweethearts with me?"  Inside the bucket were the letters to spell out her name.

(And although Trevor was excited, Brooke was downright giddy over the whole thing-- she's definitely a hopeless romantic. That's her hovering in the background looking over Trevor's shoulder.)

I love the creativity of teenagers!  Here is how he answered her:

Of course he chose to use a box of Raisin Bran (my cereal) instead of a box of Frosted Flakes or Fruit Loops.  Ah, the sacrifices we mothers make!

They went with a big group of friends on a "day date" prior to the dance.  This included a picnic at the park and ice blocking.  Then everyone went home to get ready for the dance.  Later that night, Kylie came to pick Trevor up and they headed out for the evening.  This time they had a three course dinner (provided by one of the girl's moms), went to the dance, and then it was back to a friend's house for a movie. 

Hopefully it was just the first of many fun evenings to come for this high schooler!  Thanks for a fun evening, Kylie!

A New Look...

A couple weeks ago Jaden was riding home on the bus when one of his friends said "Hey, let me try those on!" (meaning his glasses).  Unfortunately, this is what happened...

Luckily, Jaden collects a lot of "junk" (my word, not his).  So after rifling through his piles he came up with a solution...
Ingenious, don't you think?  Even the staff at the ophthalmologist's office was impressed. I don't think they had ever seen that particular solution before.  It was good enough to hold things together for a week while we waited for these new puppies to come in...

Nice, don't you think?  Jaden was extra excited to be able to see clearly again.  Now imagine him without any glasses, because that is what he has looked like this past week.  He's trying out contact lenses.  With those EXTRA long eyelashes it was a little tricky learning how to get them in the first time he tried (close to 30 minutes).  But nowadays he's getting to be a pro!  And although he still swears he likes glasses better (interpretation=less hassle), I think eventually he'll realize that contacts are great.  Personally, I am looking forward to watching him play soccer without worrying about about those darn glasses falling off and getting trampled on by cleats! 

Feb 2, 2012


The thing I love the very most about pictures and journals is that they remind me of a time I thought I would never forget.  I can't count the number of times I've failed to write something down because I was so entrenched in the moment I couldn't fathom a time when I wouldn't remember it.

Obviously I have a bad memory.

And so, in an effort to preserve some of those soon-to-be-forgotten memories, I thought it would would be fun to record a verbal snapshot of our family life as it is right now  (an idea inspired by one of my favorite bloggers).

So here we go.....

Trevor will be going on his first date this weekend-- with an adorable girl that he asked out during his priest quorum's "Eye of the Tiger" activity.  Next weekend will be his second date-- Sweethearts Dance (girls choice) at the high school.   Two weekends, two dates.  Not bad for a 16 year old.  It must be because he's so darn cute.

After almost 9 months of unemployment in 2011, Trent has been working full time now for a little over 3 months.  Although grateful for a job, he has learned how important it is to keep his eyes open at all times for other opportunities.  We've both learned that (what seems like) a large savings account balance can disappear very quickly when there's no money coming in.  I am much more reluctant to spend it than I was in the past.  That's a good thing.

Jaden recently celebrated his 14th birthday.  He grew 4 inches over the past year and we are thrilled!  He is just about as tall as me now and wears almost the same size shoe.  Yesterday was his first visit to the orthodontist to have his braces (bottom only) tightened  (hasn't even complained about it hurting).   The ortho says he needs to be better at brushing.
Caleb is a bookworm--  too much so at times!  About a year ago I had to remove all the books from his bedroom so that he would stay on task when asked to do something.  It worked for awhile (probably only until I returned the books).  Now he is back to poking his nose in a book anytime he is 1) bored, or 2) doesn't want to do what he's been asked to do.

Brooke is extremely social.  Unless she can find a friend to play with after school, her day just doesn't seem complete.  She is usually disappointed at having to come home for dinner as she would much rather play until bedtime.

Although Pebbles is a very good dog, I have realized that I am not as much a dog-lover as I thought I was.  I remind myself often that the reason we have her is for the kids, and it's just part of the stage of life we're in right now.

Two of our favorite family dinners are Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas and Pizza Rolls.  I usually don't hear a single complaint (well, maybe one) when I make them.

Brooke and Caleb are both taking piano lessons from our amazing neighbor, Anne Robinson.  I am so grateful for her and her ability to make it fun for them.  They are both working in the level 3 books-- Brooke almost out of them and Caleb just starting. 

Each night when I go into Jaden's room to say "good night" to him, he is listening to Weird Al Yankovic music and intently reading a book.  I have no idea how he can concentrate.
I'm accepting the fact that there is rarely a month when we are out of "sports season" and the resulting Saturday games.  Right now it's indoor soccer for Brooke and basketball for Caleb.  In another 2 or 3 months, we'll be back to 4 soccer games each Saturday.  Maybe I can talk Brooke into giving up soccer for clogging...

Trent is a night owl.  Sometimes Trevor and Jaden join him in a late-night movie or watching an episode of "Psych".  I love that they have that time together for some father-son bonding.

We will soon be planning an Eagle Court of Honor for both Trevor and Jaden.  Trevor earned his Eagle last summer, and Jaden only needs to have his board of review.  Then we'll do a joint celebration!  (My thoughts: Two down, one to go.  Phew!!)

I have been serving as the stake primary president for just over a year and a half.  I am grateful for the opportunity to work with so many amazing ladies in our stake.  Seriously-- they are impressive!

Trevor is in his second year of early morning seminary.  He is awesome about getting up and being ready on time.  I think I've only ever had to wake him up once.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I wake up at 5:15 a.m. to go running with 3 of the best running partners EVER (Kristen, Cari, and Sue).  We run 4 or 5 miles each time.  They are better than therapy and literally the reason I get out of bed in the morning. 

The other night I was gone for dinner and hadn't planned ahead, so Brooke made soup for everyone to eat.  Seriously!  She got out a cookbook, found a recipe that looked good, and made it all by herself!  She even texted me to find out where the bouillon was.  I think I could get used to this!

Trevor is usually at a friend's house each Friday and Saturday night.  When 11:00 rolls around, I drive to pick him up from wherever he is.  I am grateful he has such a good group of friends to hang out with, but I'd like to figure out how to draw the crowd over to our house more often. 

Caleb has been going to speech therapy 2x/week during school to work on his "r" sounds this year.  Progress is not coming as fast as I hoped, but maybe that will change once his missing front tooth grows back in.

Technology seems to be taking over our life.  Trying to convince the kids not to let "screen time" dominate every free moment is a constant battle.  It makes me extremely weary.

Chauffeuring my kids and their friends is one of my favorite things to to.  I relish the opportunity to be a "fly on the wall" as I listen to their conversations and observe their interactions.  It makes me smile.

Trent is the scoutmaster in our ward.  I love his talent for working with boys that age.  He is an extremely good sport about camping in horrible weather. 

Jaden is the fastest reader I have ever met.   He can easily read two (if not more) novels in a single day.

Brooke is amazingly detail oriented.  This is a quality she has had since she was little, but I continue to be amazed at all the things she notices.  Nuances in body language, tone of voice, new items of clothing I might be wearing, or changes in where I normally keeps things.  She notices it all!

So there you go.  Definitely not an exhaustive list, but at least a record of some of the things going on around here right now.