Imagine what you could do if you knew you could not fail.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Just Our Family

Each year we try to take our kids on a camping trip with just our family. This year we planned it for the weekend right before school started, and as luck would have it, this was the weather all morning!

Thankfully by the afternoon the storm cleared out and even dried up! It turned out to be a perfect day, just a little colder than expected. We built a fire as soon as we got to our campsite and started cooking our tin foil dinners. That kept us warm as long as we stayed close to the fire.

We normally camp in our tent, but Jeremy's parents insisted that we use their tent trailer because they don't use it as much anymore and they want everyone else to be able to get some use out of it. I was very skeptical about borrowing it because I don't like to borrow things that I would be uncomfortable lending if it were my own. I'm too afraid of my kids breaking something that I would then have to replace.

The kids didn't have the same reservations as me. They thought it was absolutely GRAND to be sleeping in a tent trailer. The 3 girls got the top bed.

Nathan got the pull-out couch. Um, he is pretending to be asleep. He sure had me fooled!

The night turned out just fine. The storm made it a little cold up there but not so much that it was unbearable. The next day turned out to be beautiful! Barely even a cloud in the sky! A lot of campers backed out of their trips because of the storm and that made the place even nicer - less people and less noise!

One thing that made me really happy was that the kids actually bonded to each other in a way they hadn't before. Athena decided that Nathan and Alex were actually fun to be around and cute in their own ways instead of complaining about them so much. She was actually quite a joy to be around this time and a huge help!

We spent a lot of time playing our golf game. We even had a tournament! The winner for this year was . . . . .NATHAN!!! He beat us all!

Jeremy got to tend the dutch oven dinner for quite awhile and he did a great job with it. This time we tried a new recipe. It was pork chops and vegetables in a cream of mushroom soup gravy. The dinner was so good! I think we might try that again.

As he tended our dinner, we played more golf. These are the spectators.

**ACTION PHOTO**  This picture makes me laugh! The things no one ever tells you are amazing. For instance, no one bothered to tell me that these shorts that I wore camping just happen to give me a SHELF BUTT! LOL (more noticeable when you click on the picture and it is enlarged)

Here is Samantha taking her turn. She ended up beating me in this round. It must be her stance.

We spent a lot of time around the campfire. Nathan is mad because he kept getting in trouble around the fire. He likes to put his stick in the fire and stir things up, but he doesn't realize that he cannot lift his stick up and swing it around in front of people's faces when it just came out of the fire. It seems like we saw this look on his face most of the evening.

Not only did Jeremy get to make the dinner and tend the dinner, now he gets to clean up after the dinner. Ah the joys of camping and using the dutch oven.

Halfway through our camping trip, Athena remembered she brought her camera. :)

Alex is doing another pose for the camera.

Alex is doing another pose for the camera.

Athena and Samantha are in their "big people" camping chairs. They fnally outgrew the little kid camp chairs.


We found this wild animal that kept hanging out in the trees near our camp. Somehow it got tied onto this rope we had.

Athena also liked to put her stick in the fire, but she was more responsible with it. She kept it out of people's faces and made sidewalk art instead.

This year at our campground we had one of the nicest camp hosts we have ever had. His name was John and he was really cool. He stopped by several times to chat or to play with the kids. Earlier in the day he told the kids that he was going to come over and show them a magical fire. So, while we were around the campfire, he stopped by with his "special" log. He had the kids look up to the sky and make a wish on the stars - "Star light, star bright - first star I see tonight - I wish I may, I wish I might - have a magical fire tonight." Then they closed their eyes and he put this log on the fire. All the kids were completely amazed! It burned pink, and blue, and green, and purple, and other colors along the spectrum. It was really pretty. :) The picture doesn't do it justice.

The next morning we packed everything up and got ready to go home. We had a little more time left after everything was packed, so we headed to the river for another favorite pasttime. Throwing rocks! Even I was able to skip a few!

We pinpointed specific spots across the river and took turns throwing rocks to see who could hit the spot first. Turns out I'm not real great at that game. It was still fun. :)

Here is that wild animal again. This time he connected himself to my arm with this black leash thing.

Isn't he dreamy? This is a little boy's paradise.

Here is Alexandra, posing again.

This is our camp host. We ended up having a little more time than we thought, so he came over and we played a few rounds of cards before ending our camping trip.

Now that our kids are getting a little older, I'm finding that these outings are becoming a lot more enjoyable. This was really a fun weekend!

Friday, August 27, 2010

He Lost It

This morning while I was still in bed, Nathan came in and told me that his tooth was loose and was going to come out. That's the first I had heard of him having a loose tooth! I guess I didn't realize it was that time for him already.

I fed the kids toast for breakfast and he was having a really hard time with it. I showed him how to break his toast into smaller pieces and then chew it with his back teeth. He said it really hurt and started to cry over breakfast, so we had a big discussion about how your teeth become loose and why they fall out. Eventually he finished his food and I told him to just wiggle it with his tongue throughout the day.

We took the girls to school and came home, and within 10 minutes of being home he yelled out, "MY TOOTH CAME OUT!!" That was fast! He was so excited! He ran into the bathroom to check out the new hole in his smile. Then he washed off his tooth and I put it in a baggie for him. He looks so much older to me now. :)

So it looks like tonight he will receive his first visit from the tooth fairy! She sure better remember this time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back to School!

Yesterday I took the kids to the school for their "Meet the Teachers" event. They were really excited about seeing where they would be spending this next year, finding their desks and coathooks, and meeting their teachers.

This is Nathan's first year of school - he is starting Kindergarten! I can't believe he will be gone for a whole 2 1/2 hours every day. His class has a pet guinea pig that he is pretty excited about. He is also excited about having recess EVERY DAY. I hope he will learn to love the other aspects of school. This is his teacher, Mrs. Davis. He is pointing to his name on the wall.

Samatha's teacher is Mr. Lai. I don't have any concerns about her at all this year. She is so excited to be starting to school this year. I ask her what she is excited about and she just says she is excited to learn. :) This is her first year having a male teacher.

It is also Athena's first year having a male teacher. His name is Mr. Ewell. I've known him for several years and I'm sure she will enjoy being in his class. Athena is the most apprehensive about going back to school, as usual. I'm hoping that her 5th grade year is a lot of fun for her and that she will be excited about the new things she is learning. She is way more into the "friend" thing because we had some problems last year with some of her friends. Hopefully it will be less of a problem this year and she can gain more of a love of learning. Overall, she is positive about being in the 5th grade and happy about the fresh start. :)

I love that Athena and Samantha are still young enough to show their excitement outright. Last night when I got home from working out, I peeked into their bedrooms as they were sleeping and saw on each of their floors their "1st day of school" outfit all laid out nicely on the floor. It's so cute how they take great care in making sure everything is in place for the first day and their excitement of having all those new clothes be UNLOCKED (so to speak).

These are the clothes that made the list for the first day this year! I took this picture of the girls right before I drove them to school.

Also new this year, the messenger bags instead of the backpacks. Wow they are really growing up. Here is Samantha right before going inside to start her day. She is a big 3rd grader!

And Athena is an even bigger 5th grader!! This is right before she also went in to start her day. :)
I walked the girls into their classrooms and that was that! Nathan was a little confused when we went in the school and I didn't take him to his classroom. He doesn't start until next week because the Kindergarten teachers take a week to do assessments with each kindergartener. I'll go in with Nathan tomorrow morning for his assessment.  I think we got started on the right foot and will have another great year!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Saying Goodbye

These pictures are all from our last morning with Ale and Tati.

We had to have them to their bus on Sunday morning before church, so that's why we all look so nicely cleaned up. Otherwise I'm sure we'd be just as scraggly as the other pictures! Tati is all ready to go - this was before the tears.

For the life of me, I cannot remember this lady's name. She was the one who handmade the items that she sold in the Paraguay booth throughout the festival. I bought some earrings from her (the ones I'm wearing in this picture) and also a pretty runner to put across the top of my piano. She was really nice! I wish we could understand each other - she only spoke Spanish, and me, only English. Still, I consider her a friend.

I like how when the team from Paraguay travels, they all wear their matching clothes. This is the team all together.

What else do little kids do when they are wearing their church clothes and have to sit and wait? Of course, they wrestle! We told them numerous times to stop and did they? You guess!

Athena is saying her goodbyes to Ale while we wait for the bus to come.

All the kids wanted to get individual pictures with our girls and Ale and Tati were kind enough to pose for all of them. :)

Now all together. I really like this picture!

Nathan really enjoyed interacting with the men on the dance team. He came up when one of them was bending over to put luggage in the bus and took his hat and put it on himself. He almost looks like he belongs with them, right? Nathan was really sad to see them all go.

We ended up waiting about 45 minutes for the bus to come. We sang "God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again" in Spanish. Then the country chair lady (the one who organizes everything for the dancers during the festival) gave all the dancers a T-shirt with the U.S. flag on them.

We gave hugs and said goodbye several times. Then when the bus came, we gave our last hugs and Ale and Tati got on the bus. Then they waved from the window. We stood outside the bus for quite awhile and then all of a sudden Ale and Tati were next to us giving more hugs! They were really cute. :) We were sad to see them go, but really had a lot of fun with them here.

On the bus they had this sign to put up everywhere they went. This is the end to our fun week with our dancers!

Last thing, I forgot to mention our gift exchange! We gave Ale and Tati a Book of Mormon with our testimony inside. I wrote it in Spanish. Then we also gave them a little magnet that is a map of Utah, to remind them of where they were. Then we gave them a lapel pin that had a U.S. flag and a Paraguay flag connected to each other.

Ale and Tati gave us a picture book about Paraguay, a beautiful small table cloth to match my runner that I bought, a basket, and a handmade keychain.

Now we will keep in touch through facebook and email. I am grateful we had the opportunity to host these 2 wonderful girls!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Temple Square and MORE DANCING! :)

For our last day together, we took Ale and Tati to Temple Square. It's amazing that you can go up there and just ask for a tour in any language and they can make it available! We were able to get a Spanish tour guide to show us around and our girls really enjoyed it. Here we are in the tabernacle.

I've never actually taken the tour of Temple Square so this was a great opportunity for our family to listen to the missionaries tell us about the history. We had one missionary speaking English and one speaking Spanish. While we were in the tabernacle a woman did the sound test. The one where she rips a piece of paper from the front of the room, and drops a pin . . . it's absolutely AMAZING! With the way the building is constructed, you can hear those tiny sounds across the entire tabernacle without the use of a microphone! I also thought it was interesting, they told us that back in the day this tabernacle could seat 10,000 people and now it seats about 3,000. It's because the people were so much smaller back then. Here are our girls with the Spanish speaking missionary from Mexico.

This is the missionary who spoke to us. She was from India and spoke English. It's pretty amazing and fun to meet people up there who are from all over the world.

We finally got to see the new model of the temple! It's so cool! I've been wanting to see this ever since I heard about it . . . in the visitor's center is a model cut-out of the Salt Lake City temple. We all enjoyed looking at it for quite awhile. It was fascinating to see the rooms in miniature and be able to show the kids where we have been inside the temple and what the different rooms are for.

This is the side view.

Here are the kids enjoying the view of the temple from the South Visitor's Center. Athena decided she wants to get married in this temple because Jeremy and I were married here, and so were both of her grandparents. Quite a legacy!

Here are Ale and Tati finishing up their tour and filling out some information for the tour guide.

My kids by the Christus.

Here we all are under his care. :)

Temple Square turned out to be a really good experience. We ended up spending a lot of time there and had to hurry home. In fact, for dinner we stopped at a gas station and I made sandwiches in the car while everyone ran inside for a little after-dinner treat. Then we drove home . . . stopped at Ross for a little more shopping . . . then back to the dance festival!

It was nice to calm down for the evening once we dropped off Ale and Tati. We enjoyed our last night at the festival. We walked by to see this lovely scene - all of the dancers from Paraguay, dressed up so beautifully, eating popsicles. :)

This is before the performance. We had to interrupt the popsicle-fest for this lovely shot.

Tati and Ale. Aren't they beautiful? I really like these costumes of theirs.

This is part of the pre-show.

This group is from Nepal. They are all pretty young, but they spoke perfect English. Hm, who would've expected?

During the performance from Nepal, they did this dance in honor of the Yeti. They had someone dressed in this ragged white costume. In the middle of the dance it jumped off the stage and came down into the crowd. Alexandra was on my lap in a flash! She took my arms and wrapped them around her so tight and wouldn't let me loosen my grip. She HATES people in costume. It really freaked her out. Luckily it went to the other side of the audience and not where we were sitting. We were in the front row! I don't think she would have recovered if it had turned left instead of right.

Ahhhh, our dancers from Paraguay. :) Fun to watch!

Here is Spain again. I have to include this picture because it has the tall guy in the middle who all the girls were just IN LOVE with - including Samantha. She was absolutely taken by him!

This group is from Mongolia. They were more entertaining than I would have thought, especially the men's dances! They were very athletic, jumping all over the stage.

After the performance, a lot of the dancers and host families stayed around at the park. The Czech group played music with their instruments and a lot of us danced. Athena was just itching to get in on the fun and dance with one of the guys from Spain. I finally asked one of them to dance with her. You can see by her face that she pretty much thought it was the greatest thing EVER!

Here is Ale dancing with our friend, Austin. Samantha is behind them, watching.

Near the end of the night we happened to walk by the guy Samantha had been admiring throughout the entire festival. I hurried and stopped him to ask for a picture. As you can see, she also thought this was the greatest thing EVER!!!

And this is the close to that very fun, and very busy day. We got home late with everyone asleep in the car.
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