Sunday, April 30, 2017

Performances and Highlights

I was thinking last night about how rewarding and beautiful it is to watch one's children grow up with unique talents and personalities and to watch them spread some good in this world with the incredible goodness that is in them. I feel so grateful for the short time I get to have them with me in my home on this Earth. This October I will have officially raised an adult. The time's flown by so quickly, but seeing the incredible young lady that she is makes up for the pain of having to let her go soon. There can be nothing more painful or rewarding than parenthood. I guess I've been reflective because we've had lots of opportunities to see them displaying their talents these last few weeks.

Cassia finished this beautiful painting:

Brenda Kidd put the videos of their lchoir concert on youtube here:

Here are some of my favorite choir songs they performed:

William has a solo in the middle of this one. The song is fun to watch:

I was impressed with William's killer dance moves (and everyone else's) on this one:

Jess has a cute dance at the beginning of this medley (and you can see Dallin signing in the corner):

Josh and James are so fun to watch on all of them, but these two were my favorite:

This one is pretty to listen to:

I like them all, it was hard to narrow down my favorites.

Here we are playing before a performance:

Jess and Dallin performed in "A Little Princess." It was a beautiful play with a beautiful message. Unfortunately, my phone was out of battery when they performed and I got no pictures, but my mom filmed a little :) I'll share the link  to the whole showwhen it gets uploaded.

You can kind of see Jess behind some people on this video and then the camera goes to Dallin:

Cassia performed in Julius Ceasar last night, Friday night and will be performing again on Monday. I was impressed with the play. The acting was so good and it was all done by students. Cassia gets to stab someone in the play - she did a great job looking shocked and upset about it. I'm a terrible actress so it's fun to see these kids pull stuff off that I wouldn't be able to pull off. I got two terrible pictures of her as the soothsayer and as a soldier.
William made it to the semi-finals in his Speech and Debate tournament yesterday, which means he was in the top 12 out of 60-something people that entered the Oratory event. He talked about how media can negatively impact relationships and the importance of limiting it to take time for the people around us. I didn't go to his tournament, so no pictures :( But I got this cute on of Cassia asleep on his lap after their long day yesterday.
James is getting pretty good at reading. This melted my heart when I walked in on it one morning:

And here are some highlight from the last little bit:

Bill's birthday was on Saturday and we got to go to the Jazz game and stay at the Hilton to celebrate. It was a lot of fun to have a night out in the city.

Yesterday we went to the Tulip Festival with those who weren't at the tournament. We'll have to take William later because it was so beautiful. It was a little chilly when the wind would blow, and Saturdays are pretty crowded, but we still had a really nice time.

Joy having a sleepover with her friend, Zion. We technically have a rule against sleepovers, but we've decided to count the Packs as family since we practically lived with them for 4 months.

And some hikes from the last weeks:

The next two weeks will be busy with Fiddler performances and final weeks of classes. And then we'll start planning some weekend camping trips. Bill just got a new job so we won't be able to do any weekday trips for a while until he builds up some PTO. We should be moving into our house sometime in June we hope. We are living with my parents right now, but their house closes at the beginning of June and if our house isn't ready - we'll have to figure out what to do for a couple of weeks :-)  It looks like they'll be working on the exterior this week so that will be fun to watch. We do miss our friends in Davis County so much already, even though we  are still driving up quite a bit. Our homeschooling friends were like a second family. Transitions are hard. But we are so so blessed.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

California Vacation

We are driving home right now from a family vacation to the Redwoods and San Francisco. It was a good reminder of how very blessed I am. I have such a beautiful family and my kids are so good. I love spending time with them. To keep it real, sometimes the little boys struggle with fighting with each other, and some of us are not very good about putting our things away. But really, I have an amazing family.

We got a few double takes, I think because of the size of our family, but also some compliments about how good they all were.  It was sweet to watch the older ones squeeze around the speaker, with their notebooks in hand, to hear conference and take notes during the drive there. I loved watching them take care of one another in the city and in the hikes.  Being a mom is the most rewarding job in the world.

Here are some pictures of our trip:

The car ride was tough on my nausea, but we did get to listen to conference so that helped time go by. I loved so many talks. One of my favorite lines, "Our family light grows as we increase in kindness and love towards each other." I have been reading some sad books lately - biographies or historical fiction that portray some of the dark things that go on in the world. It is so hard to see how much darkness is out there, and sometimes I feel like there is so little I can do about it, but I love the thought that we can fight the darkness with the light we send out to the world.

We made it to the beach on Sunday and walked around in between sessions.

The next day, we looked for some tide pools unsuccessfully and then drove to our camping spot in the Redwoods. We camped by a river so we spent sometime lounging and playing on the rocks next to it.

Then we went on a short hike that night, came back and had some chili and s'mores around the campfire.

The next day, we decided to do a day hike. Since our pace is so slow with all the little ones, a day hike for us is about 6-7 miles. And they loved it. Thankfully, we stopped at the visitors center before we went, and the ranger there told the kids about banana slugs and how one kid once found 14 of them while he stayed there. Our younger boys thought they could beat that record. They had such a great time searching for banana slugs that they forgot they were walking. In the end, they found 47. The ranger they told wasn't sure she believed them. she had to verify it with me. I guess if you go on a six mile hike at a really slow rate (it took us almost 7 hours), you notice all sorts of things that others miss. Joy was the one that got tired most often so we'd put her on someone's shoulders for 5-10 minutes and then she was ready to hike again. She probably hiked 4 1/2 miles out of the 6. She wasn't as interested in the slugs, but she loved talking to fairies (clovers) and her shadow ("Oh there's my friend again!") as we walked so she kept herself pretty happy. I think she forgot the rest of us were there most of the time.

Banana Slugs

Found a geocache

Putting the geocache back
That night we roasted hot dogs and more s'mores. The next morning, we went to another park in the Redwoods and went on the "Prairie Trail." I think it was my favorite. It was just so beautiful, I wish the pictures could do it justice. The younger kids turned in their Jr. Ranger pamphlets and got sworn in as Redwoods Jr. Rangers. Then we drove 6 hours south to San Francisco.

We slept at RV park in San Rafael and then took the bus into San Francisco. We walked through China Town to get to the Piers. Then we walked to the ferry to get back to San Rafael and walked back to the RV Park. It was a lot of walking for the littles (about 7 miles total), but they were super tough.  Then we had dinner at a Chinese Restaurant. Joshua asked the waitress how to use the chopsticks and she proceeded to show him and feed him the rest of the food on his plate. He was so full, but he ate everything she fed him. It was pretty adorable.

Walking to the bus stop

Waiting for the bus

Walking into China Town

Watching the sea lions

Walking to the ferry

Stepping out of the ferry for a bit

Getting fed by the waitress after asking how to use chopsticks

Feeling Full
The next day we drove to Elko and ate at Denny's and slept at a Wal-Mart parking lot. Then we drove the rest of the way home in the morning. We cleaned out the RV and watched Rogue One that night.  We had a great time together. I'm feeling so grateful today for my incredible family.