My dad came to visit this past week. He was here for almost five days, but it sure flew by. We miss him already! We did some of our regular traditions: shopping, wrapping presents (always a huge help to me--Dad is an excellent gift wrapper), going to lunch, decorating Christmas cookies, and going to the zoo. We even went to see Star Wars while he was here. We had so much fun!!!
I was a little sad when I realized this is the first year I didn't get a Halloween picture of all five kids together. Andrew wanted to go Trick or Treating with his friend, and I forgot to get a picture before he left. Nathaniel, Michael, and I took turns going Trick or Treating with Daniel and Jonathan (Emily went for a little while, too). After about an hour, Jonathan looked inside his bucket and said, "I have enough candy. I'm done." He is such a funny kid. It was a fun night!
Nathaniel got his learner's permit and he is so excited to be able to drive. Michael and I have been teaching him (they don't have Driver's Ed here!!!), and he is doing well so far. It's scary, but fun and exciting, too!
We were so blessed to be able to go on vacation to Utah this year for Fall Break. I wish we had time to look up all of our friends who live there, but it just wasn't possible. I was so grateful to be able to see my brother, Joe, and meet his lovely wife, Brandie. I also got to see my good friend Elizabeth Molinaro, who I knew as Beth Thomas when we lived in Ankeny. We got to drive around Provo and Springville and see all of our old apartments, and we even went to dinner at the same Olive Garden that Michael took me to on our first date. It was funny how everything was the same--but different. Many of the old stores and restaurants had changed, but many things were still exactly the same.
We drove up on Thursday. We left about 6:30am and we were in Provo by about 8pm. That was pretty good, since it is about an 11 hour drive and we lost an hour (we are on Pacific time right now). The trip up was mostly uneventful, except for the fact that Daniel got car sick and vomited before we even left Phoenix. He felt much better after that. In Provo, we stayed at a fully furnished basement apartment with its own entrance that I found on Airbnb. It even had a kitchen with dishes and pots and pans. There were three bedrooms and each child had their own bed, so it was way better than a hotel for us.
On Friday, we went on a golf cart tour of BYU. It was like the Circle of Life being there with our kids. We loved it there so much when we were going to school. I commented that I would love to go back to that time, then Michael reminded me that I would have to do homework! Yikes! This picture is in the new library, that they were just starting on when we left in 1998 (that's the last time we had been to Provo, when Michael graduated).
Here are the kids after the BYU football game against the University of Connecticut. BYU won!!!
On Saturday we went up to Salt Lake City to see General Conference. The Conference center was amazing! We only had three tickets, and we needed two more. While we waited in the stand-by line, Nathaniel and Daniel stood on the corner holding up two fingers, hoping someone had some they didn't need. Sure enough, a family gave them four tickets. I wish we could have used them all, but Jonathan was too young so he and Michael walked around Temple Square while the rest of us watched in the Conference center (Saturday afternoon). We were able to turn around and give two tickets away and the kids were thrilled to watch in person!
On Sunday, between sessions, we drove to Bridal Veil Falls. It was beautiful!!
Sunday afternoon, Joe and Brandie came to see us in our little basement apartment and we had a great visit. The kids were so happy to talk to them and kept talking non-stop!
On Monday, we kind of took it easy. In the afternoon, Emily and I went to get our hair done at the same beauty school where I used to go when I lived there. That was pretty fun. Then we all got dressed up and drove up by Sundance to get our pictures taken by a student photographer. I figured that up in the mountains would be an awesome place to get them done, and I can't wait to see how they turned out.
On Tuesday, we went back up to Salt Lake City where we went to the Church History Museum, then City Center Mall for lunch, Temple Square, the Conference Center, and the Family History Center.
These were taken on the roof of the Conference Center.
We really enjoyed our tour--it is an amazing building. 21,000 seats and no posts in the middle! When we were there, they were rearranging so they could replace the carpeting.
We drove home on Wednesday, and thankfully it was uneventful. Everyone had a wonderful time on this trip, and I am SO grateful we got to go!!!
Jonathan and Andrew celebrated their birthdays last month. This was the year they got to have a friend party. Jonathan's party was at Peter Piper Pizza. Andrew liked it so much that he wanted his there, too. So, for two Fridays in a row, we had a pizza party. The boys had so much fun with their friends.
Jonathan requested another Mike Wazowski cookie cake. He had the exact same one two years ago, but he insisted he wanted it again so I made it.
Andrew wanted a football cake. He's excited to start playing flag football this fall.
We had planned to go camping this summer, but it turned out we weren't able to go. So, at the last minute, we decided to go on a quick trip up to Payson. We drove up Friday night, went fishing on Saturday, and drove back late Saturday afternoon. This picture was taken at the fish hatchery, which we visited on Saturday morning. It was a fun little getaway.
I had to add this picture. The kids were so cute this summer, always playing games with each other. Unless they were going swimming, it was tough to go out and play in 110+ degree weather. We had a routine where they would do their chores in the morning, but they couldn't have their media until the afternoon (video games, tv, tablets, etc.) so they could often be found playing Phase 10 or some other game together. Jonathan was playing, too--he just didn't want his picture taken (as usual!).
Daniel found this book on tape, and said, "Mom, how the heck do you use this thing?"
Once I got out the tape player and he realized he could listen to one of his Magic Treehouse books being read to him, he loved it!
The boys had a great time at Cub Scout Day Camp. Here is Daniel trying his hand at archery.
Andrew loved it, too!
Nathaniel spent a week at Especially for Youth in Flagstaff. He had a great time and made many new friends.
Jonathan loves to swim! All of the kids do, but Jonathan has improved so much this summer. He used to just play on that big step, but now he wants to swim all over the place! He is getting much better and will be swimming on his own soon.
This was on June 20. It was about 117 that day. It said 122 after sitting in the sun for a while.
What do you do when Mom limits your media/video game time? Play Phase 10!!
Emily's last day of band camp--they had a performance and invited the families to watch
We had fun using our Pogo Pass to go to Castles and Coasters last week. Everyone (but Mom!) loved this ride that takes you up and drops suddenly.