When I heard that our next scheduled church activity was a FAMILY DANCE, I was so excited. What a fun activity! We looked forward to it for the past few weeks. We couldn't wait to show off our moves. But...things don't always go as planned. Brandon woke up with a fever that morning. Boo. Then Andrew called me from work after lunch because he had a migraine and was coming home. Double boo! The boys missed out.
The girls, on the other hand, had so much fun!
I wish I would have asked Whit to take some pictures of the moms rockin out.
I love the spontaneous adventures of summer. AND I love getting back into a routine with school, church, and activities. Notice I didn't say "sports." In our newlywed days, when Andrew and I talked about our future children, watching them play sports always played a big part in our visions. Well, our kids had different plans. Not one of them is playing a team sport this fall. Huh. They each chose a fun activity, though, and seem to be enjoying themselves. And it makes me happy to see them happy.
Brandon is taking rock climbing classes. That is so perfect for him. He is so wiry and is such a monkey.
He's taking the entry-level class, which is where you have to start. But he doesn't like being in there with little kids and hopes he can move up to a more challenging big-kid class. He enjoys climbing every week, though, and comes home worn out.
Caroline wanted to take ice skating lessons this fall. I know nothing and have no experience with ice skating, but I was excited for her to try something new. Ice skating is hard! She's the youngest kid in the class and has a lot to learn. But she's progressing and enjoying it.
Class sessions are only six weeks long, so we'll see if she wants to stick with it at the end.
Miss Whitney is dancing again. Yay! I'm so excited for her because she is really good at dancing and I can't wait to see her progress this year. She's taking classes with Miss Shelley and is going to try tap, hip hop, and ballet. So fun!
I snuck in to the gorgeous pink studio at the end of tap
to snap some pictures. Whit is happy and super motivated to
And just like that our summer was over and we were back into the school routine. The kids did great adjusting to our new schedules. I was worried about that after being on Mountain Time for the past 2+ weeks.
B is a great big 8th grader!
He likes three of his four core teachers,
and has a new band teacher that he likes.
He comes home from school happy almost every day.
(Which was not the case the past two years.)
I'm happy that he's happy!
And hope it lasts.
Miss Whitney started 5th grade this year,
her last year of elementary school.
Her BFF is in her class,
which makes both of them SOOO happy!
And we both love her teacher, Mrs. H.
And Caroline started 1st grade.
She loves school, so is off to a good start.
Not a single one of her girlfriends from
kindergarten is in her class. Darn.
There are a couple of nice boys.
And hopefully she'll make new friends, too.
Here she is with her teacher, Mrs. D.
And I have hit the books again, too. But no pictures of my first day. I am taking my last psychology class and my second-to-last class before graduating. Woo hoo! And it is the BEST class yet. I love it. It's called LDS Perspectives on Psychology. It is so fun to look forward to doing my reading every day. I'm hoping to finish by November and take my last (capstone) course in January. Yippee! That light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter.
Since we took such a late road trip this year, we had to hustle home in time for the kids to start school. No fun detours along the way, but we still made our quick fun stops.
Wyoming is really boring. Or at least the route along I-80 is. Not a single science center or zoo for us to visit. Boo. The only think I found online was an old frontier jail that we could do. The girls were not excited about that. I think Caroline's exact words were, "I'd rather have NO fun stop than stop at a jail." Alrighty then. We decided to stop at Target in Cheyenne instead.
My kids are good shoppers and good window shoppers when they need to be, so going to Target actually IS fun for us. But the Target in Cheyenne is even funner than usual.Check out the cool Barbie dress-up screen they had:
Nurse Brandon (ha!)
We stayed our first night in Sidney, NE. Our next fun stop was the Lincoln Children's Zoo in Nebraska.
Where Brandon found a panda mask that he HAD to have.
We loved this zoo. Very entertaining.
We got there in time for a penguin feeding.
They played a game where you got a paddle with a penguin's name on it.
You counted the number of fish your penguin ate.
If you counted correctly, you got a free ride on the train.
Yippee! We had the train all to ourselves.
They also had a butterfly pavilion.
Those butterflies were tricky to catch,
but we had fun trying.
They also had a little petting zoo area.
We fed the llama.
And cute baby goats.
That night we stayed outside of Kansas City in Independence, MO. The next day we stopped at the St. Louis Science Center. That last couple of times we've driven through St. Louis, we visited the Arch. It's so huge that it demands attention! But since we'd done it before and Whit is not fond of heights, we decided to try this instead.
It was fantastic.
We want to go back and spend more time!
This was called Mindball.
You put electrodes on your head and supposedly
whoever is the most calm will move the ball
to the opponents goal. It was fun.
Awesome giant ball-moving contraption behind the kid.
The kids could even help power the machine.
The night we made it to Louisville,
where we stayed with Uncle Alex and Aunt Stephanie.
It was Uncle Alex's birthday!
So fun to celebrate with him.
The next day, we headed HOME. Yippee!
That evening was Brandon's open house at school, so we were on a tight schedule. We wanted to stop at the Clay Center in Charleston, WV, but I was afraid we were going to miss the open house. So we had NO FUN STOP. Blah. I hate that. Driving seven hours without a real break is no fun. Luckily, we were really excited about getting back to our own house and beds and toys. That made it easier.
Home sweet home!
And we even made it in time for the open house.
A couple of random comments.
We pulled up to a rest area and right as I was getting ready to park, a man was walking by, took his keys out of his pocket and I saw money fall to the ground. We hurried to park, got his attention, and gave him his money (all ONE dollar of it!). When we came out of the restroom we found this under the wiper:
"Please give this to your daughter. Thanks for being so honest!"
Isn't that nice?
The cheapest gas we bought on the trip: $3.19.
We actually saw gas for $2.99 (!) in southern Virginia, but didn't need to fill up right then.
Most of the trip, gas was around $3.49 or so.
Whoa! That was a road trip! Over 6000 miles in a little over a month.
The van did GREAT. Not a single issue. We hit the 150k mile mark
since we've been home and it's still going strong. My van rocks!
We made the short drive from my parent's house to Andrew's parents house to spend a week with them. Another glorious fun-filled week. We are so lucky!
First up: A visit with Great Grandma and Great Grandpa H.
B perused the Reader's Digest.
He'd never heard of it.
It was cracking him up.
Grandma and Great Grandma rocked out on
the piano, playing Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.
And Grandpa regaled us with stories from his
service in the Navy during World War II.
We also made our annual trek to BYU.
At the library, we got to see a 3D printer in action.
I'd never seen one. It was awesome.
This one was printing a case for an iphone.
Brandon came up with a great idea,
"Hey, girls. Let's all just ask for a 3D printer for
Christmas and we can make our own toys!"
Then we met up with cousins and Grandma and Grandpa
at the newly-remodeled Bean Museum.
Shasta the Liger is still there.
And just about every other taxidermied animal you could hope to see.
We were quite the crew.
My dad showed me how to use my phone to geocache,
so we tried our luck on campus and found two!
We also visited Kung Fu Panda.
Andrew took a roundhouse kick to the face. Ouch.
We met Anna and Gouch at an awesome park to visit.
Even though we hadn't seen each other in two years,
we chatted like no time had passed.
Love friendships like that.
One of the reasons I wanted to meet at a park,
was because it had this:
A giant climbing structure--
big enough for ADULTS to climb.
So, of course, Anna and I had to try it out.
Fun! And it had a great view from up there.
(We only saw one kid get injured on it while we were there.)
We found a couple of geocaches by Gma and Gpa's house.
This was the teeniest one I've seen so far!
The girls love playing with Gma's dress-ups.
Lady Whitney and Lady Caroline had a tea party
with the Dowager Countess. :)
We tried something new: riding Trax downtown.
It was great.
We took it to the Leo--a museum downtown.
It was PERFECT for us.
They have a STEAM focus--
science, technology, engineering, ART, and math.
They're math section was lame,
but everything else was awesome.
Will it float?
Learning about the properties of water
We could've spent all day there.
We headed downtown for lunch
and got a glimpse of the Salt Lake Temple.
One night Gma and Gpa took us all out for dinner.
The little kids' table.
The big kids' table.
Bunch of cuties.
Another day we went to a trampoline park that had
a ninja warrior course.
Forrest and Ethan made it all the way through. Woot!
B trained did great--made it more than half way.
I think if he could try it a couple more times,
he could get it.
Andrew even gave it a try.
He made it past the monkey bars
and the rock climbing wall...
but the tightrope did him in.
Some of our favorites moments were just
playing around the house with cousins.
The three adorable six-year-olds.
The girls decorated a fairy land in the backyard.
Reagan gave B and Jo a run for their money in soccer.
Ang and Forrest came up with a new family game,
"Mormon Game Night,"
for the adults. So fun!
(and our team won!)
This was our year to have a reunion with Andrew's side of the family,
so everyone was in town for the weekend.
All sixteen cousins.
Grandma rented this bounce house/waterslide for the day.
It was perfect. The kids had a blast!
On Saturday, we drove down to Tony and Cindy's new house.
It is gorgeous. They have the best taste in decorating and design.
And check out their view!
We met there to take family portraits of the whole crew.
We're still waiting to get the professional's pics,
but here are a few that I snapped.
The one and only picture of our little family.
Good thing it turned out OK.
The cutie patootie six-year-olds
The teens and tweens giving their teenage looks.
(Notice my kids haven't mastered the look yet.)
Beautiful young women
After pictures, we hung out at Tone and Cind's for a while.
We've got some talent in the family.
It was so fun to hear the girls singing and playing their instruments.
B added some humor to the number.
Then we drove up the canyon and played kickball.
That ball was hard to catch!
After a yummy chicken dinner, we drove up Provo Canyon to Sundance
to watch "Fiddler on the Roof."
Such a beautiful setting for an outdoor theater!
Oh, the memories!
It makes me happy to spend this time with family,
especially since we live so far away from everyone.