August 24, 2009

An Evening at Liberty Park

Clark had called a week or so ago and arranged for us to meet with Lanay, and Kent and Heidi at Liberty Park for a picnic dinner and swim at the Seven Canyons Fountain. When he got off the freeway, he noticed an Air Force recruiting display across from the baseball stadium which included a Thunderbird. So, naturally, we had to go there after we ate to check it out.

Not only did we get to see a Thunderbird up close, but we also got to ride in an extreme equilibrium machine. I was Clark's "wing man." We were spun around in all directions for thirty seconds while in an enclosed, caged sphere as the children watched from the side (hoping they might see us throw up). It was better than a carnival ride because it was free. In the parked trailer we watched a quick video that demonstrated why the Air Force is so incredibly awesome, and we each received a airplane pin as a memento. We grabbed a Slurpee at 7-11 before heading back to the park to cool off.

Garrett loved splashing in the water at the Seven Canyons Fountain. Brevin and Spencer were all over the place playing hide-and-seek with cousins (I was lucky to get them to stand still long enough to take a picture). We even made it over to another section of the park to play on the playground and splash pad after the pump to the fountains was turned off.

We had a great time, and plan to make it an annual end-of-summer activity.

This post authored by Amber

August 21, 2009

A Summer Survived

Now that he is in first grade, Brevin will be in school for the full day. I think, in his mind, the most exciting prospect of the new arrangement will be eating school lunch. In fact, upon his return home from school, the first thing he shared was how good the lunch was and that he opened his milk carton on the wrong side and had to force his straw through the paper. (Boy, that brings back memories, doesn't it?)

We took some photos of Brevin before he left for school, and then the whole family went with him to his classroom. All the students were greeted at the front door by a bubble machine (courtesy of the PTA) and were each given a pencil. Of course Mr. Rowe, the principal, was there to welcome the students, and Brevin and Spencer wanted to get a picture with him.

At Brevin's classroom, we said our goodbyes and gave him one last hug before he settled into his desk. He didn't even look back. He was ready. Brevin's teacher this year is Ms. Chatterley and there are twenty-six children in the class. That large of a first grade class should make for an eventful year, to say the least.

This post authored by Amber

For Alma Mater's Sons

No, Jason and I did not meet each other at BYU. We didn't even attend BYU, but we still reserve game days on our fall calendar to be loyal, strong and true, and wear the white and blue. So when the annual Meet the Team night comes around, we don't miss the chance to get free posters and autographs from a few of the people we'll be spending excessive amounts of time watching over the next few months. Besides, the posters happen to match the color scheme of Brevin and Spencer's bedroom, and they constitute a majority of the room's d├ęcor .

Spencer has no idea who this is (nor do I), but he is still on cloud nine.

I think the boys really only care about Cosmo, but it was pretty cool to see Max Hall, too. He even signed Brevin's jersey (his number is 15, after all).

We went to McDonald's afterwards for dinner. That is where the boys wanted to celebrate their last night of the Summer. Go figure!

And boys, I hope you'll understand that there is, in no way whatsoever, any pressure for you to grow up to be a BYU football player. A USU or UVU football player would suffice!

This post authored by Amber

August 20, 2009

A New Tradition

I have been inspired by NieNie (but then, who hasn't?), and I particularly like one of her traditions of celebrating the start of a new school year with a feast and introduction of a yearly family theme.

This time of year is a perfect opportunity to regroup, refresh, and recommit. It is a chance for not only the children to progress in learning, but for parents as well. Seeing that I love any excuse to celebrate, I also wanted to demonstrate to Brevin and Spencer my personal love for learning by making their return to school a momentous occasion.

Following on the heels of an excellent talk Jason recently gave in sacrament meeting on the topic of Christianity in the home, I feel that the theme that most portrays the ideals I want to encourage over the next months is: A House of Order. This comes from a favorite scripture, Doctrine and Covenants 88:119.

For this special occasion, I brought out the table cloths, china, and silverware. We had all the fixings for a Thanksgiving feast with turkey and gravy, stuffing, garden green beans, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Of course, I had to add Mom's rolls (no formal dinner is complete without them). We finished it all off with chocolate cake. The dinner was followed with a brief family home evening lesson where the theme was discussed, then Jason gave each of the boys a father's blessing. It was a lovely evening, and I look forward to making this a yearly tradition.

Of course, I had some help with all of the preparations.

The Guests of Honor:

The Chocolate Cake (With a Layer of Strawberries in the Center):

The Father's Blessings:

This post authored by Amber

If You Teach a Man to Fish

On the final Saturday of Summer break, Jason woke Brevin and Spencer early to take them to Scofield for a morning of fishing with Dad. The original plan had been to go to the Uintas, but a sudden cool front in the weather forecast called for the new locale. After considering how fun it would be to keep Garrett entertained and out of the water while spending hours on a precariously rocky shore, I decided upon staying home with him and cleaning the house. As it was, it was even too difficult to keep Spencer out of the water. Not long after a reminder of, "Be careful not to slip and fall in the water!" from Dad, and he was accidentally falling head first into the murky depths. (Notice his soggy condition in the top photo.)

None of that misfortune could dampen (pun intended) the experience of learning to cast their own line and reel in their own fish. They each caught four. The smaller ones were fortunate enough to be released to swim for another day. The others were brought home and filleted. They made a nice Sunday dinner.

Spencer was holding this fish in his hands and it flipped just as the picture was taken.

This post authored by Amber

Sweet Nectar of the Gods

I do not wish to insult the fine community of farmers outside of our state, but there is nothing better than Utah sweet corn. Even Garrett, with his relatively inexperienced palette, could recognize that he was truly feasting on greatness. His intuition served him well, as he grasped the cob and, quite naturally, began to dig in. As has been the occasion in the past with our older boys, we photographed his first experience with eating corn on the cob. It is the first of many, I am sure.

This post authored by Amber

Level Two?

I finally got my act together and signed Brevin and Spencer up for swimming lessons (at the "ghetto pool" of Springville). It was surprising that after an initial assessment, my beginner swimmers were both placed in the group of level two swimmers. And while Brevin was one of the most advanced in the group and Spencer was on the other end of the spectrum, it was so nice to have them together. Firstly, I could watch them both at the same time and not miss a single Superman float or backstroke. Secondly, I loved the little interactions I was fortunate to witness. As they each took their turns, if one would struggle, the other was poised on the wall of the pool, reaching out a hand to pull him in. I was also pleased to see how much improvement was made in the two-week period of time, in spite of swimming in a less than adequate facility.

This post authored by Amber

On Our Trail To Fame and Glory

Well, perhaps not fame and glory...but certainly a particular sense of accomplishment. The boys worked together to earn a hike to the "Y" as a reward for good behavior through the month. We knew, from other trips, that they would be capable of the climb, and they scaled the steep switchbacks with perfect ease. Our hard work was duly rewarded with a fantastic view of Utah valley. What a nice way to start a Saturday morning. (Even the BYU grounds crew made it to the "Y" to clean up the defacement of red paint before our arrival, so all was as it should be!)

This post authored by Amber

August 6, 2009

God's Country

We had a most remarkable time exploring Yellowstone National Park as a family. This was a summer trip two years in the planning, and the anticipation was well justified. It was amazing to see such variety in landscapes and wildlife and to learn about the geothermal activity of the geysers, hot springs, pools, mud pots, and fumaroles. Truly God is a master artist with His handiwork sprawled across the "canvas" of Wyoming. Our photographs could never do the area justice (even so, we still snapped nearly 500 pictures). Here is a minuscule sampling of our experience:

The Geyser Basins

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Hayden & Lamar Valleys

West Thumb

Fishing Bridge

This post authored by Amber