Friday, May 31, 2013

Memorial Weekend SG

More Sunny G fun:
These guys decided to be adventurers with Grandpa Sherm 
and walk the scenic route home from the pool.

 Caroline's Texas Roadhouse birthday dinner 
(the day after her b-day to stretch out festivities just a little :) We were all there but these girls got the special table with Bobbi and Sherm.

 Desert rose up in Gunlock
 Sunday golf cart ride with our darling guy
Fun/hard ride up to the Dixie overlook and then the Ledges below Pine Valley. Hubby doesn't mess around when it comes to climbing. I just do my best to keep up without puking :)

Sweaty and sunny Gunlock hike Monday afternoon. Joseph and I were eager for bike rides in the morning and saved our hiking for too hot of a time. It was still beautiful though—and we kept it short and sweet!
 Cutest pair of hiking boys

These two were basically inseparable the whole weekend. Made me so happy. They got along so well and had so much fun being girlie girls together. Sometimes they had Livs join in too although little sis played with Connor most of the time and had a ball with him. Bentley was a great sport joining in where he could but he was missing his idol/cousins Ethan and Will too :)
Little hidden waterfall trail on a girls' golf cart outing with Joseph.

On Sunday morning everyone was ready early and made a visit to the St George temple before 11 am church. Luke was asleep so I stayed behind with him but Joseph got a lot of fun pics. I think I'll save them for a separate post since there are several good photos I want to publish here.

All in all our weekend away was the best. It really was. We are always up for an adventure in SG with beloved cousins and grandparents! Luckily we get to do that often and we know we're spoiled by it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Caroline's SG Birthday

Cares was thrilled to have her birthday fall on a school-less Friday this year—and right before Memorial Day. Made for the perfect getaway weekend (and she was envious of Olivia getting her birthday in SG a couple years in a row). Plus, huge, amazing, added bonus was Cec and her 3 youngest coming down with us! Celebrating her birthday with a beloved sister/cousin was perfect icing on the cake for my 7 year old girl.

 Breakfast in bed Sunny G bunk bed style!

 Such a great poser!
 The Caroline AG dress she has been begging for all year
We had big plans for the day starting with lots of presents from us, Grandma and Grandpa and Cec & co., playing with fun new prizes, swimming, golf cart riding, and an attempt at a pedicure (salons were pretty booked so I treated Cares and Maddie to some nail polish and lip gloss from Walgreens instead). We had homemade pesto pasta and breadsticks for dinner per Caroline's request and then took our 3 oldest and Maddie to see Epic. It was a gorgeous night down south and such a fun birthday (for all of us! We love vacation birthdays and having grandparents and cousins all to ourselves!)

 And who doesn't want to end a perfectly happy birthday with a Swig sugar cookie?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Celebrating Beans

Such a fun day for our Bentley boy! We started early with breakfast in bed (in my big bed of course because my Beanie does not like to sleep in, especially on his birthday when he's filled with excitement!) He was the first one up and he entertained Luke while we got breakfast ready for him. He was thrilled about his Lego presents and even a little about his new clothes (boys don't like getting clothes but he needed some new summer shorts...and I like buying him clothes :)
All my beauties gathered up on my bed

Bentley had school but the littles and I checked him out at lunch and took him to Pei Wei with Joseph. After school he had his friend Mitchell over to play (who brought him a new Lego set as a present! Nicest boy) and then we went out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse. Wow, so much yummy food that day. Could have been my birthday--I love all those spots too!

In the evening we had a fun visit from Horsley cousins and then it ended up pretty low key as Joseph was suddenly feeling really sick with a horrible sore throat and off and on fever. He went to bed right after dinner and was asleep the rest of the night. This actually continued for 3 days before we called my dad and got some antibiotics going. Those pills are miracle workers! We're pretty sure Joseph had strep with the bad throat pain but it was so random since none of us had been sick. Driving to SG 2 days after Beans' b-day was stressing me out as my hubby hardly ate anything or spoke at all because he was feeling so awful. So grateful for penicillin, I truly am. Joseph got started on it right after we arrived in St George and rebounded quickly—hooray! Got us all set for our Caresie's birthday and long Memorial Day weekend in Sunny G.

Friday, May 24, 2013

To My 7 Year Old Girl

Sweetest, sweet Caroline,

Happy 7th Birthday beautiful girl! You are growing up way too fast for me but I sure love to see how you are blooming into such a smart, helpful, funny, talented girl. You make our home such a happy place Cares. You are always willing to play with, watch over, and entertain our baby Luke which saves me so often in the busy early, evenings. You are Olivia's best friend and her favorite playmate and I love how the two of you love to go to bed together every night and share your new room so happily. Oh, and you're still Beans' #1 pal and I know he loves going to and from school with you each day—he's proud to be your brother and to have such an awesome sis.

I love your happy smile, your thick, beautiful hair, your love for ballet and dancing and performing, your darling little freckles, your zest for life, and your sincere care and adoration for others. You say thank you to me for lots of simple things throughout the day like doing your hair before school or packing you a yummy treat in your lunch. It makes my day every time and helps me feel like I'm doing a good job as your mommy. I also love that you are obedient and always wanting to do what's right. Thank you for making good choices and showing Livs and Luke just how to behave as they grow.

This year has been awesome, right? I remember well your very first ballet recital (you were spectacular!) how you learned to ride your bike without training wheels, your true love for all things American Girl, and your excitement over things like painting your new room and heading to St George for long weekends (including your birthday weekend!)

I feel so blessed that you joined our family pretty girl! All of us adore you and have our special friendships with you—we are the luckiest. I love you forever Caroline and hope you know how happy you have made my life for the past 7 years.

All my love,

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

To My 9 Year Old Boy

Dearest Birthday Boy Bentley!

Happy 9th birthday!! I love celebrating you so much. You are fun and happy and witty and handsome and sweet and so very wonderful. I'm the luckiest mom to get to have you as my boy!

This has been such a grand year—as you get older you just get better and braver at everything! Some examples: water-skiing for the fist time in Powell, zip-lining through the haunted woods with Dad, trying all kinds of food and eating way more exotic things than I ever do :), riding fast and far on your bike, running your first full 5K and making your first basket during a b-ball game.

I love your sense of adventure and discovery—makes you Dad's perfect buddy for all sorts of things. I love your creativity and incredible mind and how you use them often as you learn, build, and play. I love your happy smile and all your crazy faces and your long, lean legs. I love your Lego ships which span the entire room and your daily basketball practice out front. I love your tender heart and your friendship with your sisters and how you love to kiss and rub Luke's soft head a hundred times a day (I do too :)

Thank you for being my stellar oldest child and for loving all of us in this family so completely. Thanks for making me beyond happy from the very first moment I met you and for making me laugh so much every day since. You are an amazing kid and such a good example to all your sibings of being obedient, dedicated, kind and helpful. I love you forever darling boy!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Oh little blog, it is hard to find time for you lately! Is it having 4 kids? Is it the ease of Instagram taking your place? Is it my crazy church calling? Yes. To all of it. But I still love you!

May has flown by and we have had a lot going on. Such a pretty, happy month! But it started out quite wickedly this year. After commuting on his bike for several days already in April, my hubby was not letting a few dark clouds and some cold air get in his way come May 1st. But he was not loving his choice once the snow majorly dumped on him on his way to work.
He's so popular--KSL featured this picture on their noon news program that day!

The beautiful Madison Jane got baptized on May 3rd. She and her cute cousin Henry (Horsley) were blessed on the same day 8 years ago so Cec and Cath arranged to have the two of them baptized the same day too. They held the baptism on Friday night at Cec's stake center and just with all the Smith, Horsley, Calder and Freiss families and some close friends we pretty much filled the chapel. It was such a wonderful night and if you couldn't tell we adore that Maddie so much. She is just so much like a big sister to my girls and she's one of Caroline's bestest friends.
The day after the baptism we had our Stake Temple Walk for all those participating in Trek. We walked from our stake center just up the hill from our house all the way to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple (6+ miles away). Because we began so early in the morning we decided to just lug our kiddos along with us and make a fun adventure out of it. And we only went there whereas the youth had a little break and then walked all the way back too. 
At the stake center before we left, I gathered up some of my YW and made them take a picture with me (they loved posing for me at 7:00 am :)  My cute neighbor Janessa and her hubby are a ma and pa on trek too so she came with her little crew while her hubby was out of town! I was super impressed. She made it a few miles before her littler boys fell apart and wouldn't sit in the stroller any longer. Joseph and I never would have lasted that whole trip without both of us taking turns pushing the kids and holding Luke and Livs. Seriously, how did those handcart pioneers make it across the plains? Kids make everything harder and so many saints walked more than a thousand miles with toddlers and small children in tow. Their faith and endurance astounds and humbles me for sure.
At the temple! Luke was so happy to use his little legs. We didn't have Bentley with us because he rolled his ankle at school the day before and was hobbling around Friday night. We called our friends the Barnes last minute and they graciously had him over Saturday morning at 6:45 am! Love our great friends!!

Good old fashioned FHE the other night ending with a classic favorite, the Log Roll, followed by piling up on Dad!

This past weekend we had our 2nd annual Ward Party "Carnival" planned, and organized and run by the youth (so yeah, the youth leaders!) It was a big hit last year so we followed the same plan with 6  activities for the kids to do like bounce house, face painting, fishing pond, and bean bag toss and then they could collect a prize if they completed all 6. The park we reserved was perfect for the event with a fun playground, tons of shady grass, and a sand volleyball court too. We had a great turn-out and lots of fun with our awesome ward family. I am so happy to have that event over with though! So much to plan and worry about and be prepared for—nice to have that checked off the list :)
A few pics: bishopric competition—doughnut on a string, Livs getting a flower on her arm, Cares trying out the water-balloon toss (at our lone Priest!) and the ever fun bounce house.
Love that baby boy (half of Bentley's black face-painted bat wore off on Luke when Beans hugged him!) That "bing bag" toss was a repeat of last year—such a cute set-up (faces of the YM leaders). One of my YW last year made the poster for this event and painted "Bing Bag" on the sign. She only learned that night that is was actually bean bag...we had to repeat the sign—silly YW inside joke :)

Lastly, pics from a lovely Mother's Day. I had to teach the YW but it was a really good lesson on prayer that had me thinking a lot all week. I was excited to teach and discuss such a beautiful, real principle with my girls. I am always reassured by the power of sharing pure and simple testimony too—I think the lesson went really well. And then we got to spend time with both Joseph's parents and mine. We are pretty lucky that way having them live just a few miles away from each other. 
The beautiful Ruth Ann. Oh, I love her so much! For being the mother of Joseph alone I'll love her forever, but she has taught me so much and embraced me as her own from the very beginning. Plus she is an amazing grandma. We all adore her.

At my parents' house we had dinner and an impromptu concert of sorts by the darling girls singing "I Often Go Walking" and giving us flowers after. Then Connor sang "Turn Up the Radio"—a "classic"  Mother's Day song from the 80s :) His conviction and movement were the cutest thing ever! He is too fun.

I have an amazing mom, I really do. I think back to my childhood and teenage years and love so much that she really was a friend and confidant to me while also being my mom who did a million things for me, supported me in everything I did, taught me, loved me, and showed it by setting specific rules and boundaries for me, but also by setting such a good example to me. She has been through so much and suffered sore trials but she is still so committed to the Gospel. I love that she taught me to pray, to study my scriptures, and to share my testimony. I also love that she taught me to seek out good literature and relish in the flow of well-written words on a page. She taught me correct grammar, how to pull weeds, how to tidy my room and braid my hair, and to love Emily Dickinson and Laura Ingalls Wilder. She took me hiking in the Alps, to art museums all over Europe and the USA, to the ballet and musicals, to Japan and Paris and New York City. I truly owe her so much. And I love that I get to live by her and see her so often for lunch dates and outings with the crazies, recitals and baptisms and Sunday dinners, and fun adventures in SG and at the cabin and in Lake Powell. I am so blessed by her friendship and especially by her most constant love for me—something I have felt every day of my life. I'm such a lucky girl to get to have that gift.