Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fashion Bunnies

A favorite past time around here has been making clothes for the poor bunnies to wear. My girls have had more fun gluing, sewing, and designing the latest in bunny fashion.

The sweet little bunnies put up with it quite well. I totally remember dressing up my pets when I was a kid. Look how big Clover has gotten. Remember how we had to bottle feed him at first? He's thriving and growing like a weed now.

Even little Thumper has to endure his outfits. The only bunny who doesn't have an outfit is Nacho (since she's Carter's and he could care less about designing clothing) and ironically, she is our only female of the bunch. Yah....remember how we tried to get ALL females?? Nope, we ended up with one, the rest males. Nacho is getting spayed soon, but I think we'll eventually fix them all.

These bunnies are loved very much. Maybe even a little too much. Don't feel too sorry for them though. They are spoiled rotten, with free reign of the entire back yard. But they sure are fun and provide hours of entertainment.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Big Sleep Over

When we got back from Trek, we set up the tent in our back yard so it could air out. The kids begged to sleep out in it, so we decided to let them. I honestly didn't think they'd make it through the entire night, but they did and apparently had a good time doing it. I on the other hand, was a paranoid mom and had to sleep with my windows open and made the dog sleep in the tent with them. I sure wish times weren't as scary these days. I remember sleeping out ALL summer long as a kid. Those were good times and I'm glad my kids got a small taste of that.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Trek

So a few months ago, Jarom and I were asked if we would be a Ma and Pa for our stake youth pioneer trek. (And yep, we got to spend our 14th anniversary dressed as pioneers dancing at the pre-trek hoedown party. Talk about exciting.) I have to admit, I was not looking forward to doing the trek.

I did a trek when I was about 14 and it was probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. Try pushing/pulling a fully loaded handcart in mud up to your ankles, pouring rain, and over the tops of sage brush, all uphill. Then, when you've reached the top, have your hair stand on end like you've rubbed a balloon over it because the air is so charged with electricity from a lightening storm. While you wait for your cart's turn to be taken down the hill, sit 100 feet away from the next person in case the lightening does strike, so that it will only take out you and not all your friends too. was an experience I will never forget!

While it was physically exhausting and down right scary at times, it also taught me a lot and changed my attitude about life. My appreciation for the early members of my church grew 100 fold and my testimony of Christ was strengthened immensely. However, I really had no desire to physically abuse my body like that ever again and going as a 35 year old would certainly not be any easier than going as a 14 year old.

The only thing that helped me, was thinking about how much good it was for me as a youth, and I hoped it would be the same for the youth of my stake. I was going to go....for the kids. But then I realized that the "kids" were 14-18 years old, and I got scared...really scared. What if these kids had rotten attitudes and refused to help? What if they mocked me? How do you treat 14-18 year olds? Try too hard and you're annoying them, don't try hard enough and you're boring them. I had a million and ten reasons to hate every idea about doing this trek. But I went and tried my best to put on a happy face and a good attitude, remembering my own dear leaders encouraging me as a 14 year old to endure, learn from, and love the experience.

The morning of the trek came and while we were still fresh and clean, we posed for a few photos. The Ma's and Pa's from Rose Park Ward.

The entire group from our ward that went.

We met up with the rest of our stake and were assigned our trek families. Then away we went. None of us knew each other and we had 3 full days of hard work and nothing but time to change that. Almost immediately I knew that I had been given THE BEST kids in my family. I honestly can not say enough about my kids. I grew to love them beyond what I thought was even possible. Hard working, polite, obedient, respectful; just amazing kids. Truly an answer to my prayers.

My girls.

My boys.

We walked,

and walked,

stopped for a quick water break,


and walked some more. Love this shot. I call it "For Some Must Push and Some Must Pull." The first day we did just over 9 miles. The pioneers averaged 15-20 miles a day and sometimes more. We were exhausted by the end of the first day. The kids were begging to go to bed. Of course, after dinner they managed to find their second winds.

The second day was shorter mileage wise (only about 6), but WAY more intense. I don't even have a single picture from that day because we were all constantly working. (Not too worry, there was a professional photographer there, documenting the entire thing. We'll get those photos in September.) The terrain was either uphill or downhill, and we had to constantly dodge cow pies. We went through 5 gallons of water for 11 people in about 3 hours. We were sweating buckets.

There was also a "women's pull" this day. They took our men from us, reminding us that many women crossed the plains alone. Their men died, or were asked to help with the Mormon Battalion. The hill they chose for the women to do was the hardest hill yet. I can not tell you how VERY grateful I was for the strong group of girls I had. They were tiny little things, but they were all such hard workers. The put their shoulders to the wheel and got our handcart to the top of the hill. I dry heaved when we got to the top, that's how tough it was. Either that, or I'm REALLY out of shape, but I'm going to stick with the tough thing. It was awesome to see how much the girls appreciated the boys when we got to have them back. And I dare say, those men had some serious respect for the girls.

I LOVE this shot of James and the family flag all signed with our names after our 3 day journey. It just kind of sums everything up. Hard work, love, appreciation, and growth.

I'm not going to lie, it was hard and intense and there were ticks EVERYWHERE (and you all know how I feel about ticks), but this trek was such a great experience. I feel so blessed to have been able to be a part of it. I know the kids each learned so much and took home many life changing lessons, as did I. Our pioneer ancestors sacrificed much, and suffered greatly so that we can believe and live as we do. Nothing will give you greater respect for their trials than reliving them in a small way.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day Trippin'

Yellowstone was still full of snow and much too cold for our annual Smith trip, so this year, we opted for a day trip to some cool sights near Idaho Falls.

First stop, Crater's of the Moon. The ground is all lava from a volcano that erupted over 2000 years ago. It has a very strange sort of beauty.

Uncle Bryon leads in the race down the hill.

Alyssa and Halle found nests of caterpillars and thought they were awesome.

There are "lava tube caves" to explore.

I turned around just in time to catch my mom coming out of the cave.

From Crater's it was off to Carey, ID for a nice lunch break in the park.

Some of us even had time for a quick nap.

We then made our way to Twin Falls, ID to take a look over the edge of Shoshone Falls.

Mimi, Bryon, and little Josie in the belly pose in front of the falls. I can't wait for this baby to get here!

We took a turn too.

And so did The Kade's. Why we don't have a picture of my folks is a mystery to me.

Shoshone Falls is called the Niagara of the West. It isn't as wide as Niagara, but is 45 feet higher. With the massive snow amounts we had last winter the spring run off is a sight to behold! SOOO much water coming over the falls. They were gorgeous. This picture just doesn't do them justice.

The rest stop on the way home made a fun place to stop and wiggle for a bit before we got in the car and finished the trip. It was a very nice day, and I enjoyed it immensely.

And because my brother Quin and his family live too far away to join us for day trips, I thought I'd include a couple cute pictures of some fun things they get to do.

My adorable little gnome nephew. I LOVE this picture of Cameron!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round

All aboard Grampy's Bus!

My dad has been fixing up an old bus so the scouts can use it to transport the boy scouts to Cedar Badge.

In the mean time, the grand kids think it's the coolest toy ever.

Everyone finds a seat.

Until they discover that the luggage racks are way more fun.

Off they go! Grampy always has the funnest things!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Indians and Uncle Remus

Carter and Alyssa take piano lessons. For their recital they played Disney pieces and had to dress as a Disney character. Alyssa played "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas. We borrowed some clothes from Grammy and Grampy for a Pocahontas costume.

Doesn't she make such a pretty Indian maiden? She played her song very well too.

Carter played "Zip a Dee Doo Dah" so we dressed him up like Uncle Remus. Complete with a bluebird on his shoulder. He played his song perfectly and wasn't nervous at all for his very first recital.

His teeth are starting to fall out. He has lost his two front bottoms and one front top. Since he actually has 3 front teeth it makes his jack-o-lantern smile really skiddywampus, (I have no clue how to spell that) and it cracks me up every time he smiles.

Kate wasn't about to be left out of the picture taking on recital day. Silly girl.

Nope, you're not seeing things, Halle ALSO dressed like an Indian for recital day. Only it was for her ballet recital. (All on the same day. Actually our day went like this, soccer game, piano recital, neighbor's wedding, ballet recital. It was a crazy day.)

Halle and her friend from dance class. The studio did "Little Red Riding Hood" and Halle's class danced to a song from "Last of the Mohicans". They were indians in the woods and they captured the wolf, but let it go again and it ended up at Red's Grandmother's house. It was a contemporary ballet piece and very beautiful to watch. A great ending to such a busy day.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Alyssa Graduates from Elementary School

At Alyssa's 6th Grade Graduation Awards Ceremony, she was awarded a "Gold Scholar" certificate. This is given to students with high GPA's. I can't remember exactly what the numbers are, but I think it is 3.8 or higher. Alyssa is a straight A student and had well above 3.8 GPA.

She was also nominated by her teacher for the "Be Your Best Self" award. Given to those who are strong in these areas:

■Be Healthy - Be physically fit and drug free.
■Be Involved - Serve your community.
■Be Studious - Stay in school.
■Be Ambitious - Set and achieve goals.
■Be Responsible - Live by moral and ethical principles

It was awarded by the formerly-known-as-Jr Miss-now-known-as-Distinguished Young Woman from our city. Pretty cool award!

Alyssa with Mrs. Wahlquist. She has been such a great teacher for Alyssa.

And then we celebrated leaving elementary school for forever with a party for 20, YES TWENTY, girls from school. They had a blast and were relatively well behaved. They played Mofia, Bunco, Karaoke, Curses, No Bears Are Tonight, Ghosts in the Graveyard, and ate all the pizza and junk food their tummies could hold.

I can not believe Alyssa will be going to jr high next year. I remember thinking how far away 6th grade seemed for her, and now it has come and gone. Bittersweet for me for sure. But I am very proud of the beautiful, responsible young lady she has become.