Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Liberty Park

 While I was away at girls camp, Chad found something fun to do with the younger three. He took them to Liberty Park on a nice hot day. Looks like they had a great time.
And they happened upon a car show. Each stood by his/her favorite car for a picture.

 Splash pads are perfect for a hot summer's day!

Matthew's 6th Birthday

 I was away at girls camp when Matthew turned 6. Chad promised me he would make sure it was awesome. The other kids helped by decorating for him. He had fun gifts for him to open.
 I got to talk to him later in the day when I drove with some other ladies to a spot outside of our camp where we had reception. Matthew had been happily jumping on the tramp. We spoke for just a couple of minutes and then he was ready to take off and have more fun. It put my mother's heart at ease knowing he was having a wonderful day.
 I love that they took such good care of him.
I knew the girls would be sure to make his birthday extra special...and they did!
 What a silly boy.
Matthew's friend birthday party was so fun! We had it in the backyard. He invited a bunch of friends from school and church. We had sprinklers on under the tramp, the slip 'n' slide, snow cones, and popcorn. It was a perfect day. His little friends were adorable.  Micah said that it would have been his dream birthday party at that age. Here are Alyssa and Phoenix Badger, Bentley Bushman, Monte Conforto, Sammy Aguero, and Kyle Harris:
 Matthew, having a great ol' time!
 We had the sprinkler under the tramp, the pool, slip 'n' slide, and water balloons. That's all they needed to have fun!
 Ella was a champ, working the snow cone machine and serving up the kids.
 It was a hot day, excellent for an outdoor water party!
 Micah helped out with the popcorn. The friends certainly enjoyed this!
 Water balloon fight!
Tiger's blood, cotton candy, or blue raspberry?  Decisions, decisions.
 What cuties! Alex Thitshao, Bentley Bushman, Phoenix Badger, Kyle Harris, Matthew, Alyssa Badger, Monte Conforto, Ella, Ryder, Sammy Aguero, Sawyer Bell, Mira, Micah.

Matthew now:
*He sleeps every night with his two teddy bears: Teddy and Teddette.
*He also sleeps with Jack.
*Food choices are now much broader than they once were. He enjoys meats and soups. Casseroles he'll tolerate, but doesn't appreciate his food being mixed together. Blueberries are still a favorite.
*His teachers tell me he is an ideal student. He is respectful, is a good worker, and gets along with others.
*Basketball, tennis, and soccer are his favorite sports, he tells me.
*Favorite books are Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Bad Kitty, Frog and Toad, and Dr. Seuss. (Being the youngest siblings means you grow up faster than the other kids did at the same age.)
*Apart from recess and lunch, Matthew says math is his favorite subject.
*He is not shy about saying things in French. He loves to count things out loud in French, and show me new words he is learning.
*Friends he loves to play with: Phoenix and Alyssa Badger, Kyle Harris, Braxton Henrie (who moved months ago), Sammy Aguero.
*When playing around at home, Matthew loves to jump on the tramp, jump off the tree onto the tramp, ride bikes, jump rope, and run. He tells me he needs to get out his energy.
*Running seems to be a strength of his. Recently, he ran with Chad, Mira, and me. We ran 2 miles, and he kept pace with Chad the entire time. I was so impressed! So many times he'll want to run home from a friend's house, the mailbox, church, etc.
*Matthew's typical jobs around the house are: taking Jack for walks, emptying the dishwasher, taking out garbages, cleaning his room, etc.
*While still 5 years old, Matthew loved reading the Book of Mormon. He was fun to watch because he would super-speed scan "read" the pages. But he would sit down and take the time to be in the scriptures. He was proud when he could say he got to Alma. Many time we sat down together to read a page.
*Minecraft is a favorite! He normally gets about an hour. Turning off the computer after Minecraft is hard for him, but he tries to be agreeable so he can play again another day.

Monday, November 28, 2016

End of School and Start of Summer

 I received a card in the mail informing me that Colin would be receiving some sort of award from West Hills Middle School. We were excited to find out what it would be.
 All these great kids were called up for their outstanding achievement in math, dance, art, language arts, etc. Colin was chosen by Mr. Watkins as the outstanding student of the year in Geography. That was wonderful! He had worked so hard the entire year. Mr. Watkins had remarked to me before that Colin was a great student--asked provocative questions, participated, and studied hard. All true! Congratulations, Colin!
 Here is Matthew with his kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Clegg. She was a wonderful teacher, and Matthew did very well in her class. He easily passed (and excelled) all the benchmark tests.
 On the day of his sixth birthday, he lost his first tooth. Now that's memorable!
 We said we would always remember that. This tooth had been bothering him, making it hard to eat. This particular day, Matthew and Chad were on the trampoline and Matthew let Dad have a look at the tooth and wiggle it around. Out it came! He was a happy boy. I pulled out the second one easy-peasy soon after.
 These three cuties had planned to do a tumbling routine for the end-of-year (3rd grade) talent show. They spent time working on it. The few days leading up to the performance, they didn't get to practice together and Mira got cold feet. She decided she didn't want to do it. I was at work that day and tried to convince her to give it a go. Once she got to school Melinda spoke with her and convinced her to do it. Sweet Melinda ran over to our house to pick up everything Mira needed. They were able to go on stage and pull it off. So thankful for these friends Mira has and for Mama friends!
 The 9th grade had Lagoon day. Colin wanted to be sure to get up there before the bus did, so I agreed to drive him and his friends. Look at those handsome fellas.
 We went to Marriot-Slaterville to see Paige be baptized. It was a beautiful day.
 Theron is my girl.
 We love these people!
 Our whole group. Uncle Danny joined us. (Aunt Geri had driven to California to get some emergency medical tests.)
 Don't we look like a nice, happy family? This was 5 minutes before I accidentally slammed Mira's fingers in the car door. She was sitting in the back seat of the van with her hand reaching up behind her in the hinge of the trunk. I didn't know and slammed the trunk closed. Poor girl!
 Chad and I love going to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for the West Jordan Youth Soccer luncheon. It's catered and always delicious.
 Here are the boys, working hard to get down the curb painting technique.
 Whenever we go to Target, getting up on the red balls is irresistible. It's not a question of "if".
 And a picture must be taken. That's what they tell me.
 In all combinations.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Uncle Dale's Cabin

Uncle Dale (Dad Barnett's brother) and Aunt Pat have a pretty little cabin in the Uintah Mountains in Wyoming which they've been telling us we need to come visit. They built it several years ago, with the help of Dad Barnett. When we learned they got running water, we were excited to go--haha!
What a beautiful spot they have! They let us use anything they had--four-wheelers, their 4x4, canoe, fishing gear, etc. It was such a treat for our family. We all especially loved four wheeling in the mountains and exploring the area. The kids thought it was amazing to be able to drive these. Matthew had a complete blast!
Before going, Chad planned to take Colin and Micah on an overnight backpacking trip. He decided to include Matthew on this one, too. They learned of a good spot where the hiking would be good for Matthew. He was thrilled to be a part of this group. The boys and Chad carried everything he would need. He had a little pack he took along that held his stuffed bear.
I think Matthew was the center of attention. The boys were so good to show him an awesome time on this overnighter.

It was a pretty spot with lots of aspens.
Chad told Matthew he'd teach him to start the campfire. How exciting!
There was a lesson on the proper kindling needed.

And how to strike a match so as not to burn fingers.

He did it!
 The start of an adventure!
 Those are some happy boys.

 What a pretty little campsite.
 I'm sure having a pond right here made the camping trip even better for Matthew.
Micah and Colin were such awesome big brothers. They knew how excited Matthew was to go on this backpacking trip. They made it special for him.
 If I could zoom in on Matthew's face here, that smile says it all!

 Enjoying some hot chocolate:
I think this is a burn Micah got either at scout camp or swimming some other time, but we didn't want him to get burned any more, so we made sure he wore a shirt while at the cabin. That burn hurt!
The sleeping arrangements were awesome! We were surprised to see all these bunkbeds upstairs. Everyone was able to have their own bed. They were stoked! Grandma and Grandpa slept in the bedroom downstairs, and Aunt Amber was in the loft over the garage.
We played some games, which was relaxing.
The meals were split up so that we took turns preparing the meals.
They caught a little frog up on the hill behind the cabin.
Oh what fun exploring!
I caught a few quiet moments on my own. I made sure to apply bug spray first because there were plenty of mosquitos.
There's the cabin from the hammock:
And four-wheeling fun!

Everyone had lots of turns.
It's a neat way to see the scenery.
Matthew's face says it all.
He felt like a stud driving.
Ella, stealing away some quiet time.
Load 'em up!
The weather was beautiful. There was one day of some rain, but other than that, gorgeous.
We took the canoe to a lake and paddled around.

We brought the four-wheelers and found an perfect spot right by the lake where we could tool around. There was a big mudspot the kids had a blast splashing through. Amber and Matthew are heading there...
Micah found a bow and arrows at the cabin and was excited to try them out. He brought them when we went to the lake to fish.
It took patience to learn the technique. Micah laughed at my weird casting technique that I made "work" until I learned the proper way.
For a while we weren't having a whole lot of luck. But we had Oreos, so...
Matthew liked being able to fish.
Mira was sure to get some selfies.
Micah's teaching an unwilling student.  (Me.)

Colin, hoping to get a bite.
Ella, bravely hooking the worm. Good job, Ella!
Nice cast, Micah!
Micah and I took a drive away from fishing for a bit. I won't bring up the incident where we nearly tipped over.
This was gorgeous country!
Colin enjoys speed.
Heading out together...
Yay! We caught some!
It began raining, and that's when the fish really started to bite. Apparently, that's good fishing weather. Who knew? Well, someone did. But it wasn't us. Until now.
I caught mine!
Yum! We took them home and fried them up a couple weeks later.
Mira is all smiles on the ride!
Micah in interested in learning to gut fish.
Lots of rides...
Chad and I took advantage of a little time to get out on our own and explore. The kids stayed home and watched movies. They watched quite a few movies on this trip. I think they loved it!
Grandma reading Matthew books:
Rummaging around in the kitchen. We had plenty of food!
Someone took a lot of pictures around the cabin...
The side of the cabin that is up against the hill. The kids liked to go up the hill to have adventures.

We made campfire cones over this campfire and read campfire stories. Fun!
Those are some happy faces. We are so grateful to Uncle Dale and Aunt Pat for so generously allowing us to enjoy their beautiful cabin and all their toys. And we are grateful to Grandma and Grandpa for showing us around up there and helping us.
Last drive before we go home.
We wrote a big "thank you" to Uncle Dale and Aunt Pat.