September 29, 2012

Seasons of Change

I'm shocked at how quickly the portraits in my front room no longer accurately represent the members of my family.  My children's pudgy, baby faces are replaced with leaner, wiser ones in a matter of months, and the old photos are only slightly reminiscent of their present day appearance.  Seasons change.  Faces change.

I guess it's as good a time as any to say, "out with the old, and in with the new," right?  Well, that is what our intentions were when we made an annual drive up Nebo Loop to look at the changing, fall leaves.  We paired that with taking family pictures to update the older photos.

I can see why we only try the family photo thing once a year.  It is exhausting, and, quite frankly, a tad bit stressful. I think it's a challenge because we shoot for optimal sunlight time (which is limited), and we work with a tripod and a timer (which is time consuming).  Not to mention, our first attempts rarely turn out, and each successive photo that is taken becomes more desperate.  It's a good thing we take a billion pictures.  Some are bound to turn out and are worthy to take their spot on the front room wall.  Here is a collection of those (and a few that didn't "make the cut"):

I'm kind of wishing Garrett and Ella would've choreographed their
nose picking, thus only ruining one picture instead of two.

At this point, we might as well wreck a photo on purpose.

Hmm...see if you can guess why Garrett and Spencer would be making moo-ing faces.
 (Can you also guess why my face is so tense?): 

Ta-da!  We took a decent family picture,
and, boy, was it exhausting!

Very exhausting....
....very,very exhausting!

This post authored by Amber


September 25, 2012

Yeah, I Guess You Could Call Me a Soccer Mom

(And while you're at it, you might as well call Jason "Coach.")
Recreational athletics give our family a wonderful opportunity to spend time together, cheering each other on in personal achievements and supporting each other through team failures.  Our children are active and get a healthy dose of sportsmanship practice.  Overall, we have a really good time being involved.
In fact, Jason enjoys being involved so much, he has been a coach a number of times.  This year, he signed up to coach Garrett's cub soccer team and then was asked by the recreation department to coach Spencer's also.  I would have had to "put my foot down" if he coached Brevin's flag football team as well.  Thankfully, I didn't have to.  I did, however, have to attend both coaches meetings and initiate and run soccer practices for both teams at the beginning of the season while Jason was on a week-long business trip to Japan.  That was quite an adventure. 
Boy, I'm telling you!  Cub soccer is where it's at!  Games are short, there are no goal keepers, the atmosphere is light and positive, and the children are hilarious to watch.  Most video footage I tried to capture during the games is ruined by my incessant shaking due to laughter.  It is so funny to watch Garrett run around, working his tongue in and out of his mouth as he chases shadows on the field.  He kept very much to the outer perimeter of the group cluster during most of the game time, but we did manage to snap a photo or two of him in the middle of the action:

Spencer was a part of a U-10 team that was young, and most of the kids were playing with each other for the first time. Many other teams had been together for a year.  They had a lot of raw talent, though, but they were challenging to coach. Jason and I would work both sides of the field, trying to give encouragement and make players aware of where they were on the field.  In the games that they were successful, it often boiled down to playing positions properly. As the season progressed, one thing was very obvious.  Spencer was skilled at working the field and controlling the ball.  He had several goals for the season, averaging one per game. I know I'm his mother, and all, but I was legitimately impressed: 

(Now, lest you think we were running around like crazy, please know that the soccer seasons only overlapped a little with the flag football season and were not going on simultaneously.)

Brevin's flag football season had a record almost opposite to that of last year.  Last year his team was undefeated in the regular season and played for the championship in the Super Bowl, losing in a very close game to an equally talented team.  While he was still on the Packers team this year, many of his teammates had moved on to the next level and he even had a new coach.  They finished second to last this time around.  Even so, it was an incredible experience. Brevin's team was greatly improved over the course of the season.  They maintained a positive attitude the entire time, and they even had some really unforgettable moments at the hand of some sweet trick plays.  I was grateful he had the experience of being on both ends of the win/loss spectrum and could learn to be a good sport during both circumstances.  I guess the losses were softened quite a bit by the fact that Brevin had more playing opportunities and scored seven touchdowns for the season.  By my measuring stick, it was a successful year.

These next four photos are a time-lapse of one of Brevin's touchdowns:

This post authored by Amber 

September 23, 2012


With the completion of the the Brigham City, Utah Temple, an opportunity was afforded to all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Regular church meetings were cancelled for the day to accommodate three dedicatory sessions that would be broadcast to all of the surrounding stake centers.  Baptised members of the Church, eight years and older, were invited to attend the special ceremony.  Jason attended the earliest session with Spencer, while I attended the afternoon session with Brevin. 

It is always such a blessing to be able to enjoy an experience like that together with family members, and the Brigham City Temple dedication was no exception.  I am grateful I could attend that meeting and be reminded of special, promised blessings that come from ordinances performed in holy temples. I am blessed with the assurance that life is eternal and that family associations can be, too.  What a privilege it is to have temples!

September 21, 2012

Brevin's Dinosaur Exhibit

Fourth grade has proven to be the year of the at-home-project.  There is some sort of fun assignment every month and, on occasion, sometimes two.  I have enjoyed the opportunity to have hands on experience as I have worked with Brevin to complete book report projects and science displays.

For his Dinosaur Museum, Brevin chose to do a relief salt map.  (Okay, I strongly encouraged him to do the salt map because I had fond memories of making those with my mother.)   Once all of the projects were brought to school, the gym was turned into a make-shift museum for parents to come and view all of the different displays.  It was very enjoyable, and Garrett loved the hands-on dinosaur bone displays. 

When it was all done, I was relieved to find that Brevin was satisfied with keeping a picture of his project as opposed to the actual thing.  Unlike the salt maps that I made in grade school that sat on tops of bookshelves acting as permanent dust collectors for many years, Brevin was totally okay with storing his in the garbage receptacle.  And I was totally okay with that.

This post authored by Amber

September 14, 2012

It's What Fun Is

Every year, NuSkin kindly treats its employees and their immediate family members to a summer party.  Over the past years we've often found ourselves enjoying an amusement park opened exclusively for our group on a September evening.  We are fed a barbecue meal of hamburgers and hot dogs and then left to enjoy all of the rides that Lagoon has to offer at our own leisure and without the massive crowds.  It is a lovely scenario made only more enjoyable by favorable weather.  We love how well Jason's company takes care of its employees.
Ella was truly able to enjoy all of the rides in Kiddie Land
this year.  She made a great ride partner for Garrett.

I'm not sure why, by I always have to snap a picture of the back of my
children's heads as they drive away on this ride.  (Jason actually
photographed this one while I was off with the older boys
on more extreme rides.  He knew I would want it.  He was right!)
Garrett was tall enough to meet the height requirements for some of the
larger rides. It turns out he is just as much of a thrill seeker as the
rest of the boys.  He loved The Bat and the tube water slide. 
Spencer loves a good roller coaster, but he enjoys a simple ride from
time to time, too. (I loved that I was walking at the back of the pack
 when he grabbed a hold of Garrett's hand and walked along swinging his
arm.  It made for a great candid shot.)

Yep, me and my kids are kind-of "adrenaline junkies"
(Brevin and I are on the right side).

An evening train ride around the park with my fun little
family is a perfect way to spend my time.
This post authored by Amber