I love how happy the kids look for me on my birthday. Each of them had put thought into the cards they made for me. Micah even went out and spent his own money on two nail polishes and a lip gloss he thought I would like. I know he thought long and hard over which colors to get me. He did great, too, because I like them all! And I got a hearty rendition of "Happy Birthday." How could that not put a smile on my face? I have to brag on Micah, now. The night he went birthday shopping for me, he and Chad had plans to go to a Jazz game. At the store, Micah purchased, with his own money, a loaf of bread and a tub of butter. He'd planned ahead and brought a plastic knife, as well. When he and Chad got to Energy Solutions Arena, Micah went up to one of the several people there holding "Homeless" signs, and gave him the bread, butter, and knife. He is one special boy.
Mom came down and took me shopping at the Quilted Bear. I knew I wanted something for my mantel. We enjoyed walking around the store together. We picked out those adorable birds, the blue shutter, the pillar, and the blue scarf. Love them!
Since we're feeling a little more warmth outside, the kids love to have a picnic in the backyard. It's hard to imagine next year Mira will be in school all day long. What will Matthew do without her?
Mira is my constant helper. She does prefer to have things picked up and organized. Countless times I have found her cleaning things without having been asked. Here, she took the initiative to make her bed. I'm not one to insist their beds are made each day. But I sure like it when they are! If I ever need help around the house, she's the first to pitch in happily.
On our way back from St. George, we stopped by Cove Fort. We had been there before, several years ago. I don't know that any of the kids remembered it. What a great tour the missionaries there give. And such a neat history. It was interesting learning about President Hinckley's grandfather being called to establish this fort. The rock the got to build it was from an extinct nearby (not that nearby) volcano. Sister Hinckley was in charge of taking in and feeding visitors from the Pony Express other travelers on a daily basis. The telegraph came through here. It's so interesting how the rooms are in the perimeter of this fort. Really neat to look into each one and imagine the work that went into daily survival and everything that went on there.
The kids loved the little toy they got at the end, the pioneer toy: a wooden wheel you can keep spinning by twisting the string and pulling. Below we are at the top of the fort:
Looking into one of the rooms: We learned about the song "All around the Mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel..."
I'd have a lot of difficulty trying to cook on this old stove!
I am forced to skip around some in the order of my posts because some pictures are just not showing up. But I'll get back to those. Chad and I decided that, over Easter weekend, we would go to St. George and Zion National Park.
We stayed in our tent at an RV park in Hurricane, which worked for us. That is, until Matthew put his hand through the railing in the loft and pushed a ceramic piece of artwork off, which then shattered to the ground. We got kicked out on our second-to-last day there and were asked never to return. Boy, was that humiliating. But maybe they've never had a toddler...? Regardless of that, we had a nice time. Played some board games, pool, had an Easter egg hunt, cooked meals on our Coleman stove, and played outside.
The weather was absolutely beautiful. It was nice to leave behind fickle Salt Lake springtime and go to some beautiful, dependable sunshine!
We love a good game of Sorry!
One day we went to Sand Hollow and played at the beach. It was fairly hot, the water was really cold, but we didn't let that stop us. The kids built sand castles, moats, Matthew dug with shovels and pails, we played catch in the water, Monkey in the Middle...lots of fun. Here is Ella, catching some rays.
Matthew and Mira:
Micah planted himself at the picnic table and spent a good portion of the time reading. (Was it Tale of Despereaux or Fellowship of the Rings...?)
Ella, Matthew, Colin, Micah:
Matthew was not afraid of the cold water. In fact, he'd want to go deeper and I was the one holding back.
There they go!
Working on getting the moat just right:
We got a few new outdoor toys to play with. The big grassy area was put to good use.
We made ourselves at home. It's amazing to me that we fit everything in our van. There is barely enough room for us by the time we get everything in there.
Playing catch with Mira:
Ella working with Matthew:
Colin and Micah passed off some scout requirements by helping to prepare some of the meals. That Coleman stove we got from Santa was a great gift. It made camping yummy.
And we can't forget the hot chocolate.
Directly across from the campground was a huge field and two horses which the kids visited often and fed hay to. Easter eggs were hidden around the field, and the kids had a blast looking for them. Of course, the older ones found the most the fastest. But once they realized Matthew and Mira needed a little assistance, they gladly rehid some of theirs to make it fair.
Dad helping Matthew:
Opening Easter baskets. The big deal this year was the movie "The Hobbit."
Before we dug into Easter baskets that day, we sat down together and read a little from the scriptures. The best part was the each of the kids took turns reading, and then we had an open discussion about the Savior's last days. They are inquisitive and smart. It makes me proud.
We called this our Easter miracle. Matthew (our super picky eater) really and truly ate part of this breakfast burrito. We were amazed. But that's the only time it's happened since then!
The best part of Universal Studios is the tour they take you on. We had Jimmy Fallon on the screen for some of it (love him!).
Other than the tour, we only did a few other things: Shrek, Waterworld, the Mummy ride, and the Jurassic Park ride. Universal Studios would be great if you have teenagers. And we did have fun, but next time I think I'd rather have a day at the pool or some more time in Disneyland.
I love that the characters come out afteward for pictures. They are so animated and fun with them.
Love how the middle guy had his arm resting on Mira's head and is grabbing Micah by the shirt. Ha!
And this character from Mummy has his finger in Mira's ear. Ha! Again.
Matthew spent quite a bit of time hanging out at the playground while bigger people were going on rides. But he had his own fun anyway.
The view from here is incredible.
Ella and Mira wanted to get their own pictures in front of the globe. Mira: