Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October iPhone

Pics I pulled off Joseph's phone the other night (and a great summary of our month! 9 blog posts for one month is a little disheartening...we've been plenty busy though)

 Twin shoes for father and son
 Anniversary date on October 1st (kids at my mom's and a quick dinner at Trio Cafe)
 The megafort Joseph built with the kids a few weeks ago
Spirit Week at school last week: one day the kids could wear dress-ups for what they wanted to be when they grew up (luckily we had these scrubs on hand from master seamstress Aunt Luci)
Another day was 80's day...how do we have so much 80's stuff on hand? 
Oh yeah, because it's totally the style again these days!
 Saturday's bike date. 
Fresh snow on those Rockies but still a gorgeous 60 degree day...autumn at her finest!
These came in the mail this month and we call them the "catalogs of happiness." 
They have been read 50 times over by now!
 My snuggly boys over conference weekend at the cabin. 
I heart sons (thanks, Luke,  for allowing my to type that sentence!)
 Boys night out last weekend to the Haunted Zipline in Provo Canyon. It was a raging success!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Spooky Smiths

We love this family tradition! And finally a picture with all the kids (seems like someone is always napping or in a grumpy mood or too wiggly...) It was a lovey fall day and a great party.
 Our first year with a theme for the whole family! I don't know if it will be an annual thing but it was fun this year (only had to buy Bentley's costume and make Luke's—we borrowed the others or had them around)
Tons of pics from our night:
Cute game my sis made:
 Livs and Connor had it all figured out—just lean close and put the rings on!
 We also had a cute ghost-marshmallow toss and Halloween Bingo

The food spread was delicious and totally festive as always:

We stopped by this yard on our hay ride and let the kids loose in the leaves for a bit. They thought it was great fun and were giggling nonstop. Such cuties!

Huge thanks to my parents and Cec and her family for making it an amazing party. We loved it!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Youth Conference

Nothing like jumping into my new calling with Youth Conference right around the corner! I am not entirely sure how it got planned for October this year (postponed from the summer) but it was, and we had a lot to prepare for. Our BYC basically consists of the YM president, the 3 YW class presidents and me (we have like 4 YM right now, most of them deacons). This meant my Laurel president and Mia Maid president were asked to plan so much: choose the theme, assign activities and talks, and plan things to share themselves. I have to say I was extremely proud of them and the time they took to make so much happen. I have no recollection of doing anything like that when I was a YW so I appreciate their involvement and willingness to work so much!
Our whole crew on Friday night including the bishop and brother Stokes (bishopric) and his wife

Our theme was "Building a Temple of God" inspired by the intro in For the Strength of Youth. Our brief weekend began by heading up to my parents' cabin. The youth were loving it up there the minute we pulled up. I was so happy to have an amazing place to convene when I knew it was hard for those kids to give up their Friday night. I knew they weren't thrilled to be heading to Youth Conference instead of the high school football game, but I think we managed to change their minds by the end of the night! (I was sad that 3 of my YW are on the HS drill team and had team obligations and couldn't come. When we are so small every single person really makes a difference.)
While dinner cooked in the oven we pulled out some fancy modeling clay and everyone sculpted something(s) that helped them build their testimony and draw them to the temple. Then the kids indulged in skee-ball and air hockey and jamming on guitars until we ate dinner. After, we gathered for our fireside where my newest counselor gave such a great talk on temples, why we build them, what sacrifices have been and are made for us to worship there, and how we need to be focusing on the temple and making and keeping sacred covenants.
 I made Sister McCleary re-enact her talk so I could snap a pic :)
The rest of the night was spent playing crazy games (good, wholesome recreational activity to be sure but still super silly and hyper :) We did Noah's Ark and One Truth and 2 Lies, until just before midnight. Those teenagers are such fun and so energetic! We were all laughing and having a great time. Then off to bed. The girls all slept in the big bunk room together and the boys shared a room far off in the basement. I think those YM stayed up until like 2:00 am playing skee-ball while we were all slumbering upstairs (those YM leaders are saints for hanging out with them so late!)
In the morning we had an awesome breakfast and then watched a video about temples before heading out on a hike. I was so nervous about the hike being a total disaster as it had been pouring rain the whole night, was definitely still very cold and wet when we woke up, and we were basically surrounded by a thick cloud. It was so gorgeous up at the cabin with all the fall foliage and I wanted our youth to be immersed in it and enjoy the natural beauty as we hiked. I thought about canceling it or changing it off and on in my head all night, but instead just hyped it up and made like we were planning on it all along, rain or shine or fog or whatever.

And it was beautiful. The fog rolled in and out and the trail was a little muddy, but the leaves were still glorious, the scenery enchanting and spirits so high. We had 2 short talks given by the YW class presidents in a clearing on our hike and they even had laminated handouts with the temple and a great quote on them for all of us (I was so proud :) 
because we're cheesy like that

I thought the forest and colors and everything surrounding us was stunning. 
I just had to keep taking photos (as you can see)

Back at the cabin we ate our lunch, cleaned and packed up, and were home by about 3 in the afternoon. I was elated that 1) we had done it! and 2) it turned out to be such a positive, uplifting, bonding, and teaching experience. The youth could not stop talking about it at church the next day and they had such enthusiasm in their comments. Cool. I took a 2 hour nap on Sunday to recover from it all :)

**I left my littles in the best of hands with my amazing hubby. On Saturday they all built a mega fort together in the front room and had it all cleaned up and put away before I got home. And Cares made me the cutest little picture—melted my heart and made me so glad to be home with her again.
(note on the side says: "to mom, from Cares. I hope you had a good time. Did you have candy?")

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall Break in Sunny G

On Wednesday my sister and I packed up all our kiddos (9 total!) and drove down to St George (in 2 cars). It was so fun to meet up on the road in Fillmore, anticipate our big weekend, and then finally arrive! We unpacked and within minutes all our children were immediately playing together on scooters and trikes, finding fun toys unique to the SG house, exploring the yard and brush for golf balls, and rediscovering my parents' beautiful vacation home. It was next to impossible to get the kids to bed that night—they were just too excited.

During our stay the girls slept together, the boys slept together, and the babies slept in their cribs!
and the dollies slept together too of course

On Thursday my sis and I did bike rides in the morning (taking turns staying home with the kids) and then Cec took the 7 older kids to the Sand Hollow pool while the babies napped at home with me. Then we popped over to Target for our traditional "small prize outing" and dinner at In N Out.
This trip was boy heaven for my Bentley. Eth and Will are the coolest big kids to him and they are awesome at playing iPad games, Legos, and catch outside, and basically saying any and every silly thing to make each other laugh.

Friday was our busiest day. After my morning bike ride, we packed everyone up and went for a hike in Snow Canyon. 2 moms and 9 kids! It started out great but my Olivia quickly lost steam. She was a bit of a challenge but we pressed on. We found a fun lava tube to climb around in and then hiked back to the car. Livs was so slow during the hike back that I finally threw her on my back and carried her piggy back while I had Luke in the Bjorn on my belly. Wow—that was an awesome workout! Ethan took over for me during the last section which totally saved me. And then we went to the playground to eat lunch and hopefully wear the kids out even more!

Soon after we welcomed my parents and the hubbies who had hitched a ride with them. After getting settled, all the other adults went for bike rides, Ethan babysat sleeping babes, and I took a big group of kids to the Sunbrook pool. We also had a fun "late night" that night with everyone (minus Luke) gathered together watching Madagascar 3. Great movie! I had never seen it—I'm pretty sure I sent Joseph with the 3 big kids when Luke was tiny and I was dying for a good nap :)

Saturday morning we hit the Rosenbrunch Wildlife Museum where we saw millions of dollars worth of "taxidermied" animals (NOT stuffed animals like they teach you at the place :) I think my kids have been there at least a few times but it was a first for me—pretty cool place, especially if you have Chandler the animal expert there to offer up 101 facts about the wildlife. After lunch Joseph and I went for a bike ride but 1) I was fighting a chest cold, had laryngitis and couldn't breathe too well, and 2) my rear tire was having issues and kept losing air. I was hoping to venture up Snow Canyon with Joseph but it just wasn't meant to be that day. I did get 12 miles in so that counts for something. Next time I am down there I'll do it! In the later afternoon we sent our hubbies and big kids to Hotel Transylvania (I heard they all loved it but kids aren't very harsh critics :) while we shopped at TJ Maxx with the babies. Once the kids were in bed for the night, Cec and Chad and Joseph and I even escaped over to the hot tub on a quick double date leaving my parents to listen for any wakeful kiddos.

On Sunday we went to church (an hour of stake conference which we didn't know they were holding) packed our cars to the hilt, and drove home.

The whole weekend was busy and active and beautiful. We loved the warmth and sunshine, the happy sounds of kids playing Legos, dolls, and the iPad, and riding golf carts and scooters in the garage. The view from the house of red rock and Pine Mountain against the rich blue sky was as gorgeous as ever and a favorite sight of mine. So glad we could indulge in few more days of summer-like weather with so much family before returning to the north and the cold side of autumn.