Back in October, when Samuel turned 8, he became a Cub Scout. The nonsense started with the uniform. I was told by the leader that Samuel only needed the shirt, pack badges, neckerchief and slide, that did not go over too well with Doug. He believes that if there’s a uniform, you wear the entire thing … right down to the socks! When they tallied the bill at the Scout Store I wasn’t too convinced, but I have to say that Samuel looks great in his uniform! I know I’m slightly biased, but I don’t care! Samuel went to his first den meeting in November and in December he got his Bobcat and his Wolf. I think maybe we were a little too excited about the program because in January I got called to be a Den Leader!
With 4 boys I knew I’d spend my fair share of time in Scouting, but I didn’t think it would start so soon! I’ve actually loved being a part of the scouting program. I get to keep on top of what Samuel is doing, and I am getting a good understanding of the whole program. Hopefully this will prepare me for, what I can only guess is, the next 15 years of my life!
Here’s the great thing though, there are awards for leaders too! If you know me, you know I’m little competitive, and I love the idea of getting awards at the Roundtable meetings. This excitement may wear off, but it’s been 4 months and I still love it! Plus, it’s a church calling that gives you the Summers off!
We also just participated in our first Pinewood Derby. Samuel didn’t win first, but there was no doubt that he made his own car, and he enjoyed every minute of it!!
Eventually I’ll put these posts in chronological order, but for now, I’ll just get them written!
Samuel turned 8 in October. Eight is a big year for him, because he got to be baptized. Because his birthday is toward the end of the month, he had to wait until November to be baptized. Our stake does stake baptisms once a month. Usually there are a few kids getting baptized, but in November there was only Samuel.Since there was only Samuel, we got to plan the program.
We were very fortunate that lots of family came to show their love for Samuel. Grandpa and Grandma came from Canada, and Granny and grandpa made the drive form Richardson. Amy came with her kids and Scott and Aimee came with their family. I think the award for the longest drive goes to Mike and Ingrid, who drove from Florida!
Our kids love getting time with their cousins. In fact, when I mentioned that I thought it would be fun to have a family vacation with just our family, I was completely outvoted! Their idea of a vacation always involves cousins!
The night before the baptism everyone started trickling in. We had some barbecue ready, and enjoyed some wonderful visiting. The baptism was bright and early Saturday morning. Because it was just us, our goal was to be out in under an hour, and I think we were successful. My dad gave the talk on the Holy Ghost and Doug’s dad gave the talk on baptism. Samuel’s cousin Kennedy played the piano and Julianna was the chorister. Uncle Scott and Uncle Mike were the witnesses. Ingrid played a violin piece with Kennedy. Samuel picked out the music he liked, and he was also very happy when the bishop read to him from the Book of Samuel during his talk.
After the baptism we went back to the house for some brunch-type food. It was great getting to visit with everyone, and we were treated to another performance by Ingrid. If you ever get the chance to here Ingrid play her favorite hymn, you should definitely do it. Obviously it was already a tender day for me, but having all my family together, sitting in the living room, listening to music. It was my own Little House moment!
After lunch everyone but granny and grandpa headed to Sea World. Granny and Grandpa headed back out of town. After a full morning and then a full day at Sea World, we were all exhausted, but we were so grateful that everyone came. Only two years until we can do it all again!!
This was actually a little over a week ago, but I thought I’d post it now because my dad wanted to see the bike that he helped Samuel get for his birthday. We got William a bike when he turned 5, but we discovered that it’s now way too small. This revelation came about because William decided, a little over a week ago, that he was done with training wheels. One of the things that I love about Doug is that, when William said he was done with training wheels, he went right to the garage and took the training wheels off. We didn’t really have to remove the training wheels because William has grown so much. He ended up learning to ride without training wheels on Samuel’s new bike. I had no idea how many bikes our family would go through, and we’re not even close to done!
So, these are pictures of Samuel’s new birthday bike, and William learning to ride a two wheeler.William picked it up pretty quick, and he wasn’t afraid to get back on the back after he fell. When did my kids get so big?!
I feel like I start every post with, where did the time go! I don’t even really remember Christmas at this point, and I have some other things I want to post about, but this is pretty recent, so hopefully the pictures will jog my memory!
One of the great things about Christmas this year was that Jessica came to stay with us for a couple of weeks. On Christmas Eve we went for our traditional meal of Chinese food. The last year we were in SLC we did a progressive dinner with friends on Christmas eve, but we’re not really within close walking distance of too many of our friends here. Chinese food is yummy, and I don’t have to clean my kitchen! After dinner we went to the Marriott to look at the decorations. We got there just in time for Christmas stories (I’m sure you can imagine how thrilled Doug was!).
Because Christmas was on a Sunday this year, we got to start the day out at church. It was really a wonderful way to help the kids understand the true meaning of the holiday. My absolute favorite thing about church was that we got to sing, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” twice. It’s my favorite carol, and it was like my special holiday treat!
When we got home from church the kids got back into their pajamas and we opened gifts. There were lots of presents from grandpas and grandmas, and a few from mom and dad! Our main gift to the kids this year was an XBox Kinect. I got it at Walmart on Black Friday, and I managed to do it with very little waiting in line, so all in all, it was a success. Of course, the kids haven’t really taken to it … except for the nightly family Zumba workouts!
We had a delicious Christmas dinner and then we packed up for our big road trip the next day. We rented an 8 seater van, and took everyone to Florida. We stopped for a couple of days in Baton Rouge first, and had a lot of fun with cousins. Doug and I did our interviews for the family history project, plus I got to take the kids to see some plantations.
After Baton Rouge we headed to Crestview for a few days to see Mike and Ingrid. We talked about playing some board games, but that never really panned out. I don’t know if Jessica could have handled the fierce Roberts competition!! There were hamster balls though, and a trip to the beach. I always wonder what the hostess is thinking when she sees our huge, crazy group show up and ask for a table for 15!
After a few days in Crestview, we made our way back to Baton Rouge. We spent another night there so that Doug could help his grandfather with some spreadsheet stuff. We made our way back home on New Year’s Eve day. One of the coolest things about the trip was the constant show of fireworks from Houston to San Antonio, We actually made it home right at midnight. It was a little hard to get up for nine o’clock church the next morning, but we made it work!
Alright, it’s not exactly John Steinbeck, but at least I wrote a little something!
Most of you know that Doug is a super genius, but do you ever wonder hat a super genius does in his spare time? It’s the project. There is always a project underway at our house. There was the arcade machine, the fire truck bed, the reenforced train table, the storage space in the attic… There’s always something.
Last year a friend asked Doug how to make the Pinewood Derby finish results more accurate. Usually there’s a judge at the finish line who determines who won, but apparently that’s not the most accurate way. Doug spent a while trying to figure out a program, but eventually he just decided to build his own timer.
I can’t tell you how many hours he’s spent on this particular project, but I think it’s worth noting none of our children will even be old enough to participate in the derby until next Spring! We haven’t tried this out on an official run yet. My idea was to have a group of the adults bring some derby cars that they’ve helped their kids with in the past, and have a trial run.
Oh, and in case you’re worried about safety, there’s a warning label so that you don’t stare directly into the laser beams. That’s right, there are laser beams!
This was a big back to school year at our house. William and Samuel are both at school this year. I wasn’t quite sure how William would take to Kindergarten, but he really seems to be enjoying himself. I have loved watching him and Samuel talk about school every day. They love to talk about people they see, or what happens when other kids get in trouble! Right now we have Toys for Tots going on, and it was great watching William’s expression when he realized the toys were for somebody else!
Samuel’s teacher this year absolutely loves teaching. She seems so excited every time I talk to her (which really isn’t that much!). Samuel has been working hard at climbing the reading chart. His teacher measures reading by time. Before this year, no student had read more than 5000 minutes during the school year. Samuel made it his goal to read 6,000 minutes! So far, he’s well on his way. There’s another student in his class who is also very goal oriented, and it helps keep him motivated!
William’s teacher had me a little worried. She seems very dainty, and I was worried that William might be overpowering. I needn’t have feared. She has everything under control! William comes home every day talking about snacks and free stations. I love how carefree kindergarten is! He seems to making great advances with his reading, and he likes having his own friends from school.
I feel so grateful that our kids get to attend such a wonderful school that makes learning fun and stress-free. It’s nothing like school was for me (not that school was stressful for me, it’s just that everything seems much bigger here). When I was in elementary there were two classes for every grade. At Samuel and William’s school there are six classes for every grade. It makes Thanksgiving assemblies insane!
I’m sure it won’t always be this fun for them, but I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts!
As a side note, just so I don’t forget: Samuel decided he was too big for a character back pack this year, so William decided that he was too big too! I thought it was because they thought the characters were too childish, but it’s actually because the big backpacks have way more pockets, therefore way more places to hide stuff!
I hate that I’ve been looking at that lost post forever! I wanted to write about the other 4 days in detail, but really I just want to move on to the other things that have been going on. What’s kind of lame is that I’m going to combine all the days from the reunion!
The reunion was the p0int of the whole road trip. We needed to be at Rocky Mountain National Park to meet up with all 50 members of my husband’s family for three days of non-stop action and potato sack races. Because the baby was still pretty new at that point, I didn’t do as much visiting as I would have liked, but the kids had an amazing time. The sad thing about family reunions is how it reminds us that we don’t live near any of our family. Our closest family is five hours away. I know that’s not too bad, but it would be great if my kids had cousins to play with on a regular basis.
The biggest kudos of this trip go to my mother and father-in-law who organized the whole thing. It’s a huge task to get this many people in the same place, and not one person was missing! Thanks also go to Bryan and Charlotte who planned a lot of the nitty gritty (including the aforementioned potato sack race!). Samuel and William even made it to Junior Ranger status on this adventure.
The weather was absolutely perfect the entire time. There was still snow up in the mountains, which was a treat for my kids that weren’t born in Utah! It really was a great few days. I should write more, but I really do need to move on! Hopefully I’ll be able to get better caught up!
Where was I? My last post had us arriving in Denver pretty late Monday night. We met up with Doug’s brother for a quick minute and then got everyone into bed.
Tuesday morning our family of 7 plus Mike and Ingrid’s family of 7 pretty much took over the lobby of the Embassy Suites hotel! After breakfast and a few errands we made our plans for the day. A trip to Hammond’s Candy Factory and then and afternoon birthday party for Ben at the playground.
The candy factory was a great time. It reminded me a lot of the Sweet Candy Factory in SLC. Sweets was a little more Willy Wonka-esque, but Hammond’s has an amazing candy store.We drove out to the most amazing playground in the afternoon for Ben’s birthday party. We had cake and drinks, plus all the props for our Angry Birds course. Unfortunately, as soon as we got there the lightning alarm went off. That’s how cool this playground was: it had a lightning alarm!
It was raining buckets before too long, and so we decided to postpone the party. We went to Cafe Rio for dinner, and then back to the hotel for some cake and sorbet.
On Wednesday we headed to the Denver Science and Nature Museum. There was a pirate exhibit plus a space exhibit, and a gemstone exhibit. There was also a body exhibit. There was an exhibit that was “supposed” to measure brainwaves and relaxation. It must have been broken though, because it said that Doug was more relaxed than me … I think we all know that that’s a statistical impossibility!
After the museum we headed to a restaurant recommended by a friend. Unfortunately it was closed. However, there was a Happy Cakes right next door, and a pizza place on the other side. The greatest thing about the pizza place: it had a mix your own soda machine! Plus, the restaurant was empty when we showed up, so the 14 of us didn’t really disturb anyone but the guy working the counter!
At this point everyone was pretty wiped out, so we returned to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. Except for Ingrid and who went for a late night workout in the gym … we’re dedicated like that!
On Monday morning we checked out of our Santa Fe hotel. I only had two requests: a visit to Trader Joe’s and a visit to the State Capitol. Am I the only one with a love of state capitols?! Those two locations were pretty close together, so it was easy. Doug then wanted to go to Taos and check out the area. Since I knew Julia Roberts has a house there, I was all for it! I also consulted our little Paul Roberts Santa Fe guide and noticed that he mentioned the Bradbury Science museum. We entered it into the GPS and saw that it didn’t put us too far out of our way. Monday was a free day, so we decided to head to Los Alamos.
I have to say that I loved Los Alamos. It’s like you actually get smarter as you drive up the mountain! I couldn’t help feeling though, like we entered an episode of Lost. In New Mexico a lot of the houses are adobe style, but Los Alamos looks pretty Main Street, USA. Clearly it was built by people who weren’t local to the area! I loved the museum. They had all these stories of people who had worked in Los ALamos and what they did. Doug loved the technical things, and the kids loved all the Legos. It was very impressive for a free museum!
Taos however, was less than impressive. I was expecting a Park City/ Vail type of town, but instead it was pretty unremarkable. I think the problem was that we didn’t drive all the way to the ski resort. Maybe it’s totally deluxe 20 miles up the hill.
The rest of Monday was spent driving to Denver. It was a pretty long drive, but we saw lots of beautiful scenery and the kids were great. We got into Denver late Monday night and met up with Mike and Ingrid and their family for a couple of fun filled days in Denver.
Day 2 was so much more relaxed than day 1. Although, I have to say, that even with going to the gym every day, I was not prepared for the toll that the caves exacted on my calves. I could hardly walk on Sunday morning!
We knew we were going to take it easy on Sunday. We went to church at 11:00am, which was pretty much perfect. The people were super friendly. After church we headed to El Parasol for lunch. This was a place recommended by Doug’s cousin Paul who used to live in Santa Fe. Paul told us that El Parasol had the best tacos in the world. That’s a bold claim to make considering the best tacos in America are available right here at Taco Taco! The tacos at El Parasol were very yummy, and the whole experience was helped by the fact that there was no wait!
After lunch we went for a drive through Santa Fe. I don’t know if I could live there all the time, but Santa Fe seems like a great place to spend a week-end. Another place recommended to us by Paul was the Tesuque Market. The food here was amazing and the ambiance was great. We also took a little walk through an outdoor sculpture gallery. The kids thought it was great to pick out their favorite pieces and to see if they could identify certain things. Some times it’s a little nerve-wracking to have them running around $10,000 pieces of art, but they didn’t destroy anything!
It really was a perfect travel Sunday.