Saturday, April 30, 2011

Final (I Hope) April Update

In the handful of days that I was home in late April, Jonas had a couple of events. First was his class play based on several Shakespeare plays. (You'll have to excuse the pictures - I have either my camera phone or my regular camera which won't work with the flash, so all my pictures are subpar lately.) Jonas was in the portion covering A Midsummer Night's Dream. It is really fun to watch Jonas perform in plays, because I'm sure most of the world sees him as a very quiet and subdued person, (we see the other sides of him, but his public persona is definitely that way,) but when he gets up in front of an audience like this he is so animated and plays his parts so well. You can tell that he loves doing it. (It is also obvious which of the kids don't feel that way.) He played the part of King Oberon and , well it just slipped my mind, but someone else.
Then we also managed to slip in a spring piano recital where he played a duet with our neighbor, Tanner, and then a song by himself. He played great both times. It is getting to be fun to listen to him play (when he puts in a little effort, at least). I just hope he will grow to enjoy developing this talent, too. Mostly, though, he was just glad to get to move onto some new pieces after months of playing these songs.

And, hopefully, I am now caught up for the month of April.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Festivities

We came home from St. George Friday night so we could make it to the neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt Saturday morning and so that we could be sure the Easter Bunny would find us. The search for Easter baskets started early, but first everyone had to check out the window to see who would get to search for eggs in our yard. (Different age groups go to different yards to search. Each particular yard is marked by a different colored flag. Lots of easy hiding places for the 0-3 year olds and more difficult/well-hidden eggs for the older age groups.)Someone spotted a basket here, so everyone gathered around to see who it belonged to.
Amelia was clearly excited about her basket full of treasures.
Peter is getting to be so much fun with holidays because he is just starting to "Get it" a little bit. He knows to be excited about anything the bigger kids are excited about.
Jonas carefully checking the contents of his basket.
Samantha in one of her "outfits" digging into some early morning sugar.
Then it was outside for the Easter Egg hunt. The camera (and Shawn) went with Peter so he is the only one who has a picture. But everyone else searched diligently for eggs in their different areas and came back with full baskets.
We had breakfast in the neighbor's yard and chatted with everyone who came. It was lots of fun (as always) but a little chilly. Thank goodness for hot chocolate.

When I was loading the pictures onto the computer, I found these pictures that the girls had taken. They each got a nightgown for their dolls and a little Lalaloopsy doll in their Easter baskets and apparently they set up a photo shoot, complete with a hanging back drop. (This would help to explain the tape I found on the blanket when I was cleaning up.)

I love finding these little surprises on my camera.

I love Easter. It is one of my favorite holidays (along with Thanksgiving,) so you would think that I would have managed to take some pictures of the kids all dressed up or something. But, nope, I missed the whole thing. Somewhere in the process of getting everyone ready for church, I just forgot. I also left everyone at our ward and went to listen to my Dad speak on the Atonement. He did a great job (as always) and it was a good way to bring the focus back to the purpose of the holiday for me. By the time I got home, everyone was scattered all around and Jonas was already changed. Then it was time to go to my parents for Easter /April birthdays dinner. I stuck my camera in my bag, but once again forgot to get it out. (Seriously?!) So not one photo of Easter day if you can believe it. Oh well. I hope you all had a Happy Easter!

Spring Break Part 2

There was lots of playing outside in the sunshine, riding scooters, rollerblading and longboarding. (It was one of Jonas's goals to learn to do that while we were there.) The girls and I went shopping and they each chose a new swim suit. We also went to Ice Berg for shakes. (It took a couple of days for everyone to get through those.)I decided to take the kids to the Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum because when we lived in Santa Clara, we used to come all the time and Jonas and Samantha really liked it.

Unfortunately, Peter didn't. Not one bit. And then when the lights went out and the thunderstorm sounds came on, I had 3 kids crying and screaming, covering their ears and begging to go home. Jonas, Samantha and I couldn't help but laugh. It was pretty funny. I was glad there weren't too many people in there with us because we created quite a commotion.
Eventually, the lights came back on, the "storm" ended and I convinced Amelia that it was faster to go the rest of the way through the museum than to turn back. I put Megan in the stroller, and carried Peter and we made it without anymore trauma.
And, of course, because I was playing the role of "yes" Mom, everyone got to pick a treat or little toy form the gift shop. (This "yes" Mom stuff is getting expensive.)

And back for more time outside on bikes and scooters.
There was also lots of bubble blowing and chalk drawing going on, too. (Just for future reference, the colored crayola bubbles make a huge mess - washable, but messy nonetheless.)
The kids were thrilled when the Marshes showed up on Thursday so there was someone new to play with. We pulled out the wading pool we bought when Jonas and Robbie were babies......and the girls jumped and splashed to their hearts' content. (And may have ended up a little sunburned.)

Peter must have a little of me in him because he was obsessive about lining up the chalk all in a row, all going the same direction. He was getting frustrated every time one of the girls would take a piece and not put it back just right. (Mostly, I think, "Finally, a child who cares about the order of things!" He is also the only one who goes around closing cupboards and things that are left open, too.)

It was a sad day when we finally had to pack up and head home after a week in the warmth, but there were Easter festivities to get home for! I will miss being the "Yes" Mom. I already dread having to get back to homework, practicing and jobs. Ugh!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I'm Back

I have just been figuring out that I have only been in Salt Lake for 5 of the past 22 days. It has been lots of fun, warm and sunny. But now I have to adjust back to real life. That's painful. But I can't complain, because like I said, I've had lots of vacation days. I guess I'll get to work on posting (and backdating) some of the adventures.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Break

After only 3 or 4 days back in cold, wet Salt Lake, I was ready to go somewhere warm again, so since it was spring break, and the kids had a whole week off of school, we decided to head down to St. George. Shawn couldn't take another week off of work so it was just me and the kids. It was finally my chance to be the "yes" parent. (Let's face it, I am never the "yes" parent.) But away from home, and therefore practicing and kids chores, I was free from the usual necessary nagging and begging to get things done and we were able to just have fun.

You want to take a bath in the big jetted tub? Sure! (Sorry, Mom. I promise this was the only time we went in there.)
You want to go to the pool? Sure! Why not?
Duff on the little slide.

Sand Hollow is such a kid friendly pool for big and little kids. Since swimming for us usually involves swim team or swimming lessons, it was nice to just go and let everyone play.
Peter loved just floating around.

Jonas in the fountains.

Amelia coming off the big slide.

Samantha under the dumping bucket.

Of course, I couldn't get a picture of all the kids actually looking at the camera. Peter wasn't interested in having a picture taken, he just wanted to play.
You want to go out for ice cream? Let's go! (This was as bad as the weather got. A little windy and overcast one afternoon. The rest of the time it was sunny and warm.)
This is what a little cotton candy ice cream will do to your face.
You want to watch a movie every night and have popcorn? OK! (It's kind of fun being the "yes" Mom every once in a while. I'm starting to like this.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Florida (April 6-12)

When Shawn found out that some work needed to be done in Florida, he volunteered to go. Then he invited me along for an extended stay - as long as I would help with the assessments. It seemed like a good trade off, so a vacation was born. We have found that this is a great time for us to escape. Shawn is usually so ready for a little time away from work after the busy season, and I am usually so desperate to escape the too long winter, that we jump on the chance to get out of town.

As per the work agreement, I spent the flights to Florida reading through the assessment training manual and trying to dredge up information from the deep recesses of my brain so I would be ready to help with the assessment. (It's a good thing I got through the whole thing because I accidentally left the manual on the plane. Oops. that's not a good way to impress your employer.) It was so nice to step off the plane into 80 degree weather. I could finally be warm for the first time since September! We got there in the late afternoon and spent a little time finding the assessment site, getting settled in our hotel, exploring the city and going to the beach to watch the sunset.
We got up early in the morning and headed off to the assessment. I think I did pretty well having been away from that type of thing for years and years. After about a half day, we were done and that was it for the work part of the trip. We were free to just play for the next 5 days!

If you have never traveled with Shawn, you have to understand that there is really no such thing as a "just sit on the beach and relax" vacation. It's not in his blood to sit still for very long. He did better than he usually does, though. So one of the first things we did was rent beach cruisers to ride around. (Also because it wasn't worth it to have to pay for parking every time we went to the beach. The bikes solved that problem.) This also made it possible to do an almost daily triathlon - a nice long beach/boardwalk run, an open water swim and usually 15 -20 miles on the bikes. (Once that was done,we could start relaxing for the day.) We had so much fun. Shawn said he felt like he was 13 again, riding around on his bike in swimsuit and flip flops, on the sidewalks. It was true. It was kind of a freeing feeling since most of my bike riding is more about pounding out the miles for exercise - not just for pleasure and transportation. I did feel like a kid again. If we lived somewhere flat, I would love to have a cruiser with a big basket on it. We hardly drove the car again the rest of the week.
We stopped here for lunch one day. It was pretty good.
The flowers and palm tress were beautiful. And lots of green grass. (Ours is still covered with snow at this point.)
Shawn's self portrait on the bike. You can see a little of his sunscreen mishap there. Also, you may notice the lack of a helmet here. Not recommended. Don't tell anyone.
The view of one of the many streets we rode to get to the various beaches.
And finally, time to just sit on the beach, soak in the sun and relax! We were in Naples, which is on the Gulf of Mexico side, so there weren't many waves and the water was like a bathtub - like 82 degrees. (OK if I take a bath at home, I usually run it a bit warmer than that, but when it's that warm outside, it feels like a bath tub.) You could stay in the water for hours and not get cold. Trust me - we spent hours playing and swimming in the water.

More pedaling.
And lots of beautiful sunsets. I think we have beautiful sunsets in Salt Lake, too because the whole sky fills with colors, but unless the air quality is really bad, we don't usually see the sun as a huge ball settling into the ground. And there's just something about a sunset over water....

More time spent at the beach. A little bit of color on our Utah winter skin.
And more sunsets... (Seriously, if you get tired of pictures, you should probably skip over the Florida posts.)

Of course, we had a little fun with Shawn's gopro camera in the water.

We went (back) to the beach every night to watch the sunset.