July 24, 2010

Blogging Catch-up

There comes a time in every blogger’s life when you finally have to catch up on all the missed blogs (and finish all the blogs that were started but never completed). So I’m getting around to that part. This Pioneer Day holiday I’ve been able to complete the following blogs, scattered over the past couple of years!:

Springville Playground
Date Night Noodles
Study for Finals
Garden Begins
Garden Begins 2
Happy Holiday
Christmas with Joneses
Snow in April

I'm not caught up yet but at least these posts fill in a few of the gaps and reduces my blog draft page to a single page. Maybe I'll be able to squeeze in some more time to finish the remaining posts. I still have this weeks posts to get posted. I guess this stuff just never ends. Oh the memories we make!!!

July 21, 2010

Visiting Party for the Gibbons

We were excited to find out that the Gibbons family would be in town to visit around the Pioneer Day holiday. The headed out to Virginia last year for Shae to attend law school. It was sad to see them go and so we were excited to visit with them as they passed through town. When we invited them over it seemed natural to invite our neighbors, the Simmons, and our good friends, the Johnsons, at the same time to visit with the Gibbons as well.

Michelle jumps on the phone to see what schedules are like and if they could make it down. The Gibbons said they could come over on Wednesday or Thursday but we were going to be out of town on Thursday so we just told everyone that Wednesday was the day. Everyone could make it at some point so we called the Gibbons back to find out what time they would be in town. One thing lead to another and our little dinner or dessert get-together turned into a pot-luck dinner party!

Michelle loves parties so she called up a list of friends who also knew the Gibbons. We knew we couldn't get everyone but whatever we didn't get on the first go-around the Gibbons could visit individually later. As it turned out, we had a lot of people show up and it was a blast. Everyone seemed to know everyone and the kids just ran around the yard at mach 2.

We didn't have a lot of time to prepare for this party. We had gone hiking with some other family friends so we just cleaned up the yard (a little), made a salad and hamburger buns and patties and set up some chairs and tables. No one seemed to mind and everyone had seemed to have a good time. We are grateful that the Gibbons were back in town so we could have such a fun party. We want to wish the Gibbons the best of luck as they finish up their final year of law school.

Stewart Falls with the Bruschkes

An unexpected email last week indicated that some dear family friends would be in town this week and wanted to get together to do something. With no set day, time or activity we weren't sure quite what to expect or how our friend's time would work out. So we took a shot in the dark and named 2 different days and 3 different activities hoping that at least one option would work. Luckily for us today was the day and hiking to Stewart Falls was the activity. This hike isn't too difficult and it's been a while since we've been there but we've been talking about it all summer. And the Brusches hadn't been there yet so it turned to be an excellent choice for an activity.

The Bruschkes were coming down from Park City so we decided to meet just past Aspen Grove at the parking lot (at the trail head). As soon as we got our group picture we headed up the trail. With 4 adults and 10 children ages 7 and under, we figured that everyone could keep up, moms and dads included. The older children naturally headed down the trail first and the little kids hung back with mom and dad.

The last time we had hiked this trail David had gotten so far ahead that we "lost" him and I had to run to find him. So we got smart and decided to bring walkie-talkies so we could at least maintain contact with him. The idea was good but the execution of this plan didn't go quite as we anticipated. I don't know if we have bad equipment or bad operators but we lost contact with David before we made it half-way up the trail. In fact, the rest of the older kids met us as they were walking back up the trail, they also having lost contact with David. We did finally find David, relaxing on the far side of the stream/waterfall, exactly where we didn't want him to be without supervision. As a result, David had to relinquish control of the walkie-talkie, and could past the first adult on the trail (which happened to be me, but that was better than having to wait for mom at the end of the group!). This was absolute torture for David but he needs to learn a lesson about staying together.

When the rest of us arrived at the falls we discovered about 2 dozen other hikers who had already arrived before us. That wasn't too bad, all was calm and relatively quiet. The boys immediately took to throwing rocks in the river and we needed to remind them to be careful and not launch rocks all the way across the river and hit people sitting down on the other side! Aleky had to be reminded multiple times.

While we were enjoying our lunch we noticed some guys coming down the trail at a full run, without shirts on. We assumed they were cross country runners because they were skinny as rails. Then the next group arrived...and another...and another...! Before we could finish eating the falls were swarming with cross country runners (we're guessing they were from a BYU summer camp). Some of these kids couldn't get their clothes off fast enough so they could run through the falls.

Seeing these kids run under the falls put ideas into my boys heads and before we knew what was happening we saw David entering the falls. The Bruschke's kids notice this right away and more ideas began entering young heads. In the end we had David, Donovan, Brett and myself pass under the water fall (through the chilling waters). Bailey approached the water fall but decided that she didn't have anything to prove and retreated.

Aleky didn't make the hike back. Michelle had sent me with the advanced hiking party before Aleky gave up so I was cruisin' with Quinten and the older kids (Spencer, Natalie, David, Donovan and Michael). As a result, Michelle had to pack Aleky out with the remains of lunch, sun screen and other hiking essentials she was already packing out. Fortunately Rachel assisted with packing Aleky out (who was sleeping most of the way!).

Having successfully completed the hike we decided to celebrate and headed to the Creamery on 9th for some ice cream. We had so much fun interacting with the Bruschkes on this little adventure and look forward to the next time we can do something together. The next time will probably be a California adventure of some sort but we'll wait and see.

July 6, 2010

Celebrating Independence Day

Today we celebrated Independence Day. The first thing that our boys noticed this morning were lots of hot air balloons rising into the sky. You could see them from Michael’s bedroom window and over our neighbor’s house. However, the festivities started with all sorts of commotion as the police lined our street. Shortly after the police arrived there began a stream of people, first running and then walking. We can only assume it was the Freedom Run passing our house. The boys were so excited that our scripture reading this morning lacked a certain level of spirituality.

After we finished reading scripture the boys got dressed and quickly ate their breakfast (or didn’t eat at all as the case may be) because they were so excited to see what was going on outside! The pre-parade was passing our house and we first noticed it when Darth Vader and the various Jedi Knights and storm troopers were passing by our house. That was the final straw that broke the boys anticipation backs. It would be only minutes later that we would notice the back gate unlocked and open to the park and the 4 older boys were missing.

Imagine, for a moment, 4 boys running off into the social mayhem that we common call a parade! Luckily the boys had taken their wheeled toys to get a closer look and were coming back to the house when Michelle went to look for them at the back gate (I still had to get dressed first). The second attempt didn’t fare much better. While distracted getting the stroller and the jean blanket our boys escaped out the back gate again! This time we caught up to them on the sidewalk of Center St. (at least they stayed together).

We found a spot near the 700 E roundabout. Some older kids had set up blankets and then decided that they would take up seat in the median and left their blankets unattended. Hey, at least we got an unobstructed view of the parade! The pre-parade was still going when we arrived but then there was a significant lull before the real parade finally reached us. While we were waiting for the real parade to reach us Cheyenne and Autumn found us on the parade route! That was an unexpected surprise and we’re glad that they were able to join us. The boys were excited to see the various entries but we decided that all the entries fell into 3 categories: (marching) bands, political statements, or commercial advertisements (especially banks). The parade lasted about 2 hours.

Here are some of the better entries in this year’s parade:

After the parade Autumn and Cheyenne came over to the house to allow the crowd time to dissipate. So while they waited we all sat down to lunch. Abby had an enjoyable time playing with Michael and Aleky. Once the crowd finally thinned out my sisters were able to head home. We put Aleky and Quinten down for naps and we decided to take the 3 older boys to Grandpa Jones’ house and shoot his pellet gun.

The boys thought it was great fun to shoot the pellet gun. It’s a semi-automatic rifle and has about a dozen shots per clip. David was getting pretty accurate at hitting the pop cans across the garage. Donovan and Michael’s arms aren’t quite long enough to allow them accurate aiming so they didn’t get quite as much thrill (mostly because they were missing more shots than they were hitting).

After shooting the boys headed back in the house to play with the rest of Grandma’s toys. Michael started on the computer but David quite appropriated it for himself. Donovan and Michael spent the next couple of hours playing with the various cars, blocks and parking structure in the living room. They were disappointed when it was time to pack up the toys and head home for dinner. Before we left Grandma Jones suggested we take the movie “E.T.” for the boys to watch. So the boys started watching the movie as soon as we got home, while dinner was being prepared. After a short pause in the movie to allow time for eating, we finished watching the movie together.

David had a couple of funny quotes while watching the movie. First he said, “I don’t like this movie because the alien is getting the boy into trouble.” The second quote was, “I think this movie is going to make me cry because the alien died.” How wonderful to have such great kids in our family. It has been a wonderful family day. I probably haven’t gotten enough work done but I’ve had fun with my family. It has been a great Independence Day holiday.

July 5, 2010

Barrus Family Reunion 2010

We had the wonderful privilege of attending the Barrus family reunion in Blackfoot, ID. Great-Grandpa Barrus' health is not what it used to be so, with some encouragement from Grandma Petersen, we decided to attend this event. So Friday morning we packed up the suburban and we headed for Idaho.

The boys were very excited about the trip, probably because it was going to be an opportunity to see their cousin Devin Boel. I don't think they knew much more about the trip or even cared. We stopped in Brigham City where we met the Boel children, Uncle Kyle and Grandma and Grandpa Petersen. Devin jumped in with us and the 3 girls jumped in with Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Kyle (Aunt Melissa decided to stay home with Lydia and her newborn, Aldin).

We finished the 4+ hour trip eagerly anticipating the tin foil dinners that we had prepared only to discover that the traditional camp fire was not lit! So a quick stop at McDonald's and that mishap was remedied. We arrived at the park and the kids disappeared as the adults pitched camp. The reunion was already underway with family stories, skits and such being presented.

The traditional camp fire was finally lit but we had already eaten so we just enjoyed an evening sitting by the fire, after putting the boys to bed around 10:00 pm. The night was very windy once we decided to settle down and sleep. Michelle was afraid the tent would blow away with us inside (probably like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz). But we survived, albeit very tired in the morning. The following video and pictures are just a few highlights of the our Saturday:

(Michelle and our family tree)

(family picture with Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Barrus)

(The kids pause during family picture time)

(A visit a Barrus grave site)

(A visit to a Denney grave site)

(Independence Day celebrations with the Petersens)

(Michelle playing too)

(Our humble grand finale!)

July 1, 2010

Sprinkler Explosion

So there I was, helping to clean up the kitchen after lunch and I happened to look out the window. I see Donovan and Michael attacking the (kids) wheel barrow which is covering the sprinkler. Has this happened before? I don’t know but I’ve never seen anything like it so I had to snap a few short video clips.

No matter what you have to say about Donovan you can’t deny he has got a creative streak bigger than the other boys combined! It’s just awesome.