Monday, April 29, 2013

A Packed Provo Day

On April 15th, I loaded up the kids, and had a very packed day after going to the gym that morning.
We headed to Provo to see some peeps:
 First we saw Kristie and Lilah, and had a picnic in their living room:)
Love you Kristie!

 Then we saw Danniey and Calvin and Linus.
We knew each other before we had kids back in the ol' BYU 103rd ward, 
then we each had our first boy and we would get together to go to the park.
She was a great visiting teacher, and friend too ;)
They happened to be in Provo for that day, and about a week later moved to Arizona so it was so wonderful to see her and her kiddos and catch up a bit.
Good luck in AZ!

 After that I dropped off James and Jack with Kirstin.
She took them to the BYU duck pond and they fed the ducks, and is so good with those two.
Thank you so much!
 I then went to see this lovely with her precious new baby at the hospital:

 Aubreigh and new baby Bennett.
I am so happy that she is doing so much better than last time.
I literally sat on her bed and held that cutie petutie for the whole time I was there.
The newborn smell, oh so good.

 Is it just me or do all newborns look like little old men?
In a cute way of course!

Then we went back to Kirstin's house for the last time before she moves out, 
got in our jammies and gave kisses and hugs all around,
then piled in the car for the way home. Whew!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April General Conference Weekend

General Conference happens twice a year, every six months, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is when the prophet Thomas S. Monson, and the12 apostles, and a few other selected speakers address the whole of the church over one weekend.  
There are two, two hour sessions on Saturday with a two hour break in between each, then a two hour session just for the men 12 and older on Saturday evening. 
That is followed by two more two hour sessions with a break in between on Sunday.
That is a lot for anyone, especially two active small boys :)
Families can have all sorts of traditions for General Conference, and ours seem to be to go to the Grandparents to be able to share the experience with them.
This year we stayed at home and listened with Papa and Grandma Kathy (who is now officially in Utah and this was her first weekend!) for the first session.  
Grandma Kathy made a great breakfast, complete with the tradition of orange rolls.
I had little treat bowls for different words set out, so if the kids heard "Jesus", "Family", "Temple",or "Scriptures/ Book of Mormon" they could pick a treat from the bowl.
They had to hear it though, and if we prompted every time, the kids would have filled up fast on sweets.
For the second session we drove to Grandma Hiller's, and afterward, and before Papa and Daddy went to the Priesthood session, we had a great dinner with Grandma Hiller.
A rare picture with Grandma, she says she doesn't like to take pictures anymore, 
but I think she is beautiful.

The boys (and myself!) really enjoyed her backyard, it is so beautiful, and everything is green already! Flowers are blooming, flowers on the trees, and her grass is so soft.

After the priesthood session we drove all the way up to Mike and Misty's house in Franklin.
We hadn't visited with them for a long time, and thought this was a perfect opportunity.
They are always so welcoming, I love that we are friends.
We spent the night on Saturday with them, and then watched the first Sunday session there
 (and didn't take any pictures, sad).
During the break we headed over to Mike's dad and mom's, Doug and Debbie's (also in Franklin) for a dinner in between and then the second Sunday session. 
The dinner was fantastic, thank you so much!
More of the Porter clan were there, and all the kids enjoyed playing together.
After that we headed over to the Haworth farm to see Grandpa and Grandma Haworth, 
and the Tanner clan was there too.
It was good to see everyone, even if just for a little bit.

James and Jack wanted to see the cows, and this was the only picture we took while in Franklin.
It was a great weekend of spiritual uplift and family bonding.
I like those two traditions the most.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I love my sister

Kirstin is going to graduate this semester
and I am so proud of her hard work.
 We were taking a picture together, and James said
"Me too! Don't forget me!" and jumped in,
AND was smiling and looking at the camera.
It is getting easier to get him to look at the camera, but he is tough to capture.

Kirstin has a job in Orem, and they are sending her for the summer to Alaska to start up an office there so the company can do business in Canada.  
We will miss her lots this summer, but we know she'll have a great adventure up there!

Recipe for Fun

Who doesn't love a fort?
Well, I got an idea from HERE (this website has so many fun activities for kids), 
and sort of made it my own.
 Heaven for small kids :) 

Have a fun movie, IN the cool fort,
 ADD drinks, popcorn, and fruit snacks...

...INVITE four friends= a lot of fun for five little boys :)
I felt like a pretty cool mom that afternoon I must say.

James and his Pedal Bike

James is a very athletic kid, I can already tell.
A little over two weeks ago James wanted to ride his "bike with pedals".
We strapped on the helmet, and Nathan held his shirt while he pedaled.  

Seriously about five minutes into this teaching session, Nathan had James start at the top of the driveway, got him going by holding his shirt, and then said "want me to let go?".
"Let Go!" James enthusiastically said.
My stomach flip-flopped as I thought about anything that could happen, 
crashing and breaking an arm, a collarbone, or a tooth!
And that he is growing up so fast,
and I can't believe he is doing it!
And he rode his bike, just grinning and loving it.

... and he stopped successfully without crashing, at the neighbor across the street's sidewalk.

 I think this is all thanks to his "fast bike" or his Strider bike.
 This was one of the best things that we've gotten for James.
He could ride it all by himself, and has learned balance so a bike with pedals is an easy next step.
I very highly recommend this for kids, 
and we got it HERE for a much better deal than you can get in stores.
He still likes to ride this one first because he doesn't need help to start, then we'll do the pedal bike, then we usually end outside with more "fast bike" because let's face it, he likes to go fast :)

He still needs a little help to get started if he stops, but everyday he is getting better at that.
He's 3!  Not only can he ski, but now he can bike too!
Way to go my best buddy!


Grammies got to stay until Wednesday after Easter.  We tried to play outside, go to the park, play, read stories, and visit Kirstin as much as possible. 

 On Monday we went down to Provo and Mom got to meet Kirstin's boyfriend Mark.
They are very cute together, and he is really nice.
   In Provo and had dinner with Kirstin and Mark at Brick Oven Pizza.
I haven't been there in ages, and it was nice to get back to ol' P-town and BYU campus.
Nathan asked if I thought I could still fit in there, and I said "of course", but while looking at everyone walking off campus, I think I look older now, and freshmen look like babies.
I guess maybe I wouldn't fit in as easily as I thought :)

 James wanted to sit next to Aunt Kirstin. He just adores her.

We went and got a manicure and pedicure.  It was Mom's first ever!  
THANK YOU for coming out to visit!  
It was so much fun, and we'll get out to Colorado soon again
 to see the rest of our Colorado family.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Happy Easter!

 Happy Easter!  
Easter is about Christ, so we focused only on him in the morning, and even would let the kids go through their baskets until after church. When we got home then we got to see what the Easter Bunny had left, and there were candy eggs (of many varieties) hidden in the living room, and hard boiled eggs we had colored that were hidden outside.
The hunts ensued:

Jack getting an egg out of one of the trees

James collecting chocolate eggs off the piano

 Everything goes into the dish

 Wow, a lot of eggs!

 Family Easter picture in our Sunday best

 It was a blessing to have Grammies and Aunt Kirstin to share the day with, 
and we had a great Easter dinner together as well.

I love my bunny :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Zoo Day!

 Best picture of the day :)
Mission: we had to see the pandas at the zoo!

 Friday in San Diego, day three, and it is the zoo day!  It was also zoo day for a million other people who were there on spring break (note to self, choose a different week next time we go!), but it was great.  We saw just about everything:
 Orangutan's (this is the daddy one)
This big fella walked right up to my kids at the glass.
James thought it was cool, Jack started screaming :)>
Nathan quote: "Jack, stop scaring the rest of the children!"

 James was explaining what we just saw, and Jack is calming down.
We got James a little Safari Limited Daddy Orangutan

 Next stop, gorillas
I love that you can see Jack and Daddy through the glass, and it looks like Jack and the gorilla are looking at each other!

 Jack enjoying a ride on Daddy and seeing the Capuchin's
 Cute little monkeys

 My little monkey trying to make the same face

 Different monkeys grooming

 Grammies being eaten by a flamingo head :)

 Two juvenile grizzlies waiting for their afternoon treats

 We watched them get their treats of a melon and nuts.  
However, the most excitement happened when two ducks were landing in the enclosure.
One almost got taken out by one of the bears!
That got everyone's heart pumping in the audience.
Luckily the duck got away, and will hopefully think twice before flying too close to the bears :)

 More monkey's, and this one had a baby

 Jack was very impressed by the acrobatics of the baby jumping all over the place

 Being lifted up to see some baby yaks while in the long line to see the pandas.

 The baby panda, only a few months old, hiding up in the tree.
The mom had gone back inside during our viewing time

 James viewing another panda.
They weren't really white and black, more like brown and black.
And this guy only showed his back to us.  A bit sad to have to wait so long to see them.  

 Jack's favorite's include Eagles right now.  He'll yell for "eagles, eagles, eagles" over and over.
This is the closest cousin to the Bald Eagle, it's a Sea Eagle from Russia, and they are extremely endangered because where they build their nests is very windy (along the coast), and the nests blow over a lot of the time.

 Jack and Daddy and the Sea Eagle
Jack got a little Bald Eagle from the gift store.

 James being a seal and poking his head out of a seal's hole in the ice at the polar bear enclosure.

 Polar bear chomping on, surprisingly, a carrot?

 That part of the zoo was so crowed, we all ended up getting separated (luckily not the kids from the adults), but it was mainly just annoying to get back together.
We couldn't fight the crowds farther to get to the caribou, we'll get them next time. 

A jaguar, though James insisted it was a leopard.
I just let it go, but that exhibit ended in tears because Nathan insisted that no, this was in fact a jaguar.
We sometimes choose different battles :)

A secretary bird.
These birds don't fly much (they can, they just prefer to walk),
and they stomp on their prey like snakes to get them.

 Jack and the California Condors (big birds are this kid's thing)
They condors are endangered, but the zoo has one of the best breeding and releasing back to the wild programs in the world. 

 A giraffe's eye view while looking at the giraffes :)

All we could see of the rhino's

 And we are still walking around, though Jack fell asleep for a while like that

 Daddy and little monkey walking back towards the entrance

 Riding a lion!
As a kid I had my picture taken next to a leopard, but the leopard was real, and I remember being so scared (I was four, or maybe younger).
I think we'll stick for now with statues of big cats for picture taking 

 Grammies and her grizzly 

The very last animal we saw was the Komodo Dragon
All day James' favorite animal had been the Orangutans, until this giant Komodo Dragon.
I had stopped to rest a little, Jack was sleeping, and Grammies was sitting with me (after we had taken a little detour to the gift shop to pick up the boys' animals for the day).
Daddy took James to the reptile house, and this was the last one they saw.
James talked non-stop then about this "Komodo Dragon, and I saw it with my daddy, and it is SO BIG, but it doesn't have wings"
Then he wanted to show it to his mommy too.
What a cute kid.
Well, Nathan wanted to get him a little Komodo Dragon, I didn't think I had seen any, but he was welcome to look.  And well, the kids left that day with two animals each because he did indeed find a little Komodo Dragon, and by now Jack also had woken up, so Daddy got him a baby panda.
Overall, a very successful, and very tiring day at the zoo.

That evening we got to see the Williams gang again for dinner (Thank You!!)
We stayed probably later than we should have, but we loved talking and catching up them.
The next day we woke up, packed up the car, and started the long drive home.
Unfortunately, Nathan did not feel well the whole drive, and neither did I, though we never threw up like Jack did.  
We probably caught the same little bug though.
Nathan was a trooper and drove the whole way (though there were offers to help or switch). 
He was content to listen to one of his Wheel of Time books, and he said he never got tired.
I was listening too, but sometimes I'd fall asleep, then wake up and have to have Nathan explain to me what was going on in the book :)

It was a great vacation, and the mission to take the kids to the 
San Diego Wild Animal Park and San Diego Zoo was a success!