Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas Pictures

Since Mom and Dad have been in Texas to help out while Gabby's been recovering, we've sure missed them. But they've definitely been appreciated while there. I wish we were able to spend time with adorable little Eva. She is growing, and we love to see her in pictures. I love these pictures Gabby took.
I know Mom and Dad have enjoyed being able to get to know Eva. Mom loves how Eva snuggles right up to them. Dad's been cooking up a storm. I'm sure they've got lots of food in their refrigerator!
 What a beautiful little girl Eva is! Handsome family. Maybe one year soon we'll get to spend the holidays together.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Aquarium

Another fun day off track! While I was working, Chad took these three to the Living Planet Aquarium. The ZAP tax made it free, and it was a popular destination. They waited in a long line, but it was worth it.
 Mira says they saw a tortoise right next to this bird.
 What a beautiful parrot in the background. And what beautiful children!
 Ta-da!

 They saw this huge fish. Matthew is demonstrating its size.


 Happy siblings.
 Chad says there was a great 4-D theater at the aquarium that had seats that move, air and water that spray the viewers to make the experience come to life. This particular film was on the Galapagos Islands, which I would absolutely love to visit one day!

Thanksgiving, Mira's Bday, St. George

We spent Thanksgiving with the Barnett side this year. It was held at a church in Layton. Janna and Alan had prepared a bunch of wooden snowmen for families to decorate and take home. Dinner was yummy. I appreciated Uncle Dale's smoked turkey he brought again this year--delicious! Matthew filled up of turkey, rolls, Jell-O, and pumpkin pie. Immediately after dinner, we drove down to St. George. Mom and Dad were in Texas, helping Chris and Gabby with Eva since Gabby had surgery to remove a tumor. (Benign, thank goodness.) 
 We got to celebrate Mira's 9th birthday at Grandma and Grandpa's house. She got chocolate cake with sherbet and mint chip ice cream. She is my girl who is happy to change plans to make others happy. When the kids heard her request play-doh ice cream, the protests prompted her to ask what everyone else wanted. Ella asked for mint chip, and the others wanted sherbet. She happily acquiesced. Her gift was a tumbling mat. It folds out and she can do her tricks on it. She was pretty happy about that!
 Matt enjoying his ice cream.
 We all went to the Anasazi Trailhead in Ivins. When the kids learned of our plans they immediately asked, "Is this a hike?" to which we replied in the affirmative. The moans and groans! Well, once we got on the trail, the boys and Chad forged ahead while the girls took their sweet time collecting rocks they deemed beautiful. My favorite quote from this hike was Ella's declaration: Rocks are cool to collect!
 What pretty scenery. Pictures don't do it justice. The contrast of the blue sky, red plateaus, and green vegetation is impressive.
 Groupie!
 Important work going on here:
 Some of Ella's finds:
 And the funny thing is, once we arrived at the petroglyphs, the kids were in heaven! In fact, Colin told us this was one of his favorite hikes. He loves being free to roam and discover things on his own without restriction. The amount of petroglyphs really was impressive! Amazing that they are still in such good condition. Makes one wonder what the meanings of them are. Some are rather bizarre-looking.

 Matthew, our little mountain goat. He made us nervous with the way he'd skip around the rocks and get close to the edge. Here's a funny Matthew-ism: "What's the point of you guys?!"
  That afternoon we went to Snow Canyon where we played a little Frisbee, the kids ran around in the sand, Chad and I went for a stroll, and we attempted to make it 'til dark to watch the stars come out. Ella and Chad were the only ones who actually made it to watch the stars. The rest of us wimped out because of the cold. But Ella told Chad how beautiful it was. She had been so excited to see the stars. We will have to make a point of doing it again when it's summertime.
 As we headed out of town, we stopped at Pioneer Park. But this time we visited a new spot: the gardens. This was so pretty! Colin stayed in the car and worked on homework. I finally went back to retrieve him. It was worth it.
 We climbed around. Started to play a game of hide-and-seek, but Matthew took a tumble. He loves scrambling around the rocks, just doesn't quite understand to exercise more caution.
 Ella loves these good spots for climbing.

 Silly Ella, bored on the way home. The drive home was kind of brutal. What normally takes 4 hours took us 5 1/2 hours that night. The holiday traffic and snow really slowed everyone down. Chad drove and I was pinned in the backseat between Ella and Matt. We survived, even though rather stiff.
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Happy Birthday to our Mira! What is she up to and what is she like these days?
*She loves tumbling! Loves to stretch and practice her tricks.
*She is the little mother. She takes good care of Matthew, even though they sometimes get in tiffs.
*Her teacher, Mme Louk, says she wishes she could clone Mira because she is such a great student. Very attentive and a hard worker.
*Ella has told us how Mira's French is really good.
*Mira loves to help without being asked. She will pitch in many times just because she sees the need. And she'll often ask if she can help me. It warms my heart.
*She loves to laugh. And I love to hear her laugh.
*She has been spending more time in books lately. She's been reading the Ever After High series, which she can't get enough of.
*She had a goal to work on her times tables to get them down really well. She'd put in time everyday working on them.
*She loves to keep her room tidy. It drives her nuts sometimes, sharing a room that can't always be in order as she'd like it.
*Fashion is fun! Mira loves a cute, girly outfit.
*Mira is wanting to grow out her bob haircut. She wants to be able to do more with her hair, like she sees Ella does sometimes.
*Mira just did her standing back tuck for the first time. She was stoked!

Mira's Razzia Dinner + Boondocks

 
Mira's Razzia U9 team had a celebratory dinner at Pizza Pie Café, which had our kids super excited. We met all the other teammates and their families to enjoy food and a medal ceremony. Cute kids!
 For her 9th birthday, Chad took Mira to Boondocks. The two of them played laser tag, miniature golf, did the XD theater, etc. Chad gave Mira 20 tokens, which she had fun with and used earned tickets to get prizes. Doesn't she look like she's enjoying herself?
 They spent a good few hours there playing hard.

While Off-Track

 Ella, Mira, and Matthew have a humongous 4 week break. We have not been idle. In fact, Ella just said to me, "I'm not complaining of anything, but we haven't had much time around the house to just be lazy." She's right! They have a list of chores, scriptures, reading, piano, and so forth to accomplish each day (if we get to it all, that is). And we've filled our days with fun activities. Here, Ella is enjoying a moment snuggling Jack. Not too sure how he feels about it...
 Chad took them to Farm Country at Thanksgiving Point with Grandma Barnett. The kids had fun riding the ponies.

 And they went on a wagon ride together.
 Spent some time at the Curiosity Museum.
 Another day I took them to the Discovery Gateway, since it was a free ZAP day. Oh, what fun!
 Look at that hair! And those smiles.
 Everyone needed a picture on the horse:

 We didn't find this spot upstairs until the very end of our visit. Matthew would have enjoyed spending more time here.
 We have taken advantage of the church gym. With it being so cold outside, they have loved being able to run, skate, and play in here. Ella has been focusing on her skateboarding skills. She has discovered she loves it!
 Matthew likes the PowerWing.

 Showing off her skills:
 Mira and Mikell have spent time together while off track. They made donuts one day at Mikell's house.
 I'm sure they were delicious!
 Blake, Maren, and the boys came for a visit for Thanksgiving week. Chad took Ella, Mira, and Matt to meet up with them in Ogden at the Treehouse Museum. I got lots of pictures of them having fun while I was at work.
 Hunter the ham with Mira:
 Lucky for Matt, there were more of these foam toys!
 I would imagine they spent a lot of time discovering this new place.
 Braden, Mira, Brody:
 Working out, Ella?
 Yee-haw!
They love being with their cousins!
 Prez Matthew
 Grandma treated everyone to dinner at the Pizza Pie Café. They loved it. Especially the Oreo pizza. Matthew had spaghetti, peaches, and dessert.
 Oh, and soda refills!
 While the cousins were in town, and were staying with us, we took the kids to Classic Fun Center in Sandy. Boy, that was the right choice! The foam pit was a hit, especially with Matthew. The spent a lot of time here.
 Cotton candy, baby!
 We had a "blast" in the Blast Zone. Micah and Ella aimed their guns at me and hit their target more than a few times. I got it in the head, face, booty, and body. They loved it. Matt was intent on loading up this huge gun with as many balls as I could collect for him. And Colin spent some time helping us.
 These two did a little rollerblading.
 Colin and Braden teamed up to shoot other players.
Something very exciting happened while off track, and it is that Matthew learned to tie his shoelaces. He got a new pair of shoes recently, which had laces. I was determined that he learn this skill before going back on track. What kindergarten teacher has the time or energy to retie shoes throughout the day? It had to be done. I anticipated it requiring a lot of time and instruction. But this boy picked it up quickly. He spent time working on it all by himself, and can even double knot them. He's pretty proud of himself, and well he should be.