Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring is lovely in the Tetons

 The past three years we have gone to California for Spring Break to visit Nana, Papa, friends, and family.  This year since Ryan and the girls had just returned, we decided to take advantage of every last bit of skiing we could and stick around here.  The week started off pretty COLD and we just kind of hung out.  However, by the end of the week we had gotten a few really good days up at Targhee in.  Thursday was by far the best day.  It was beautiful, warm weather and our entire family was able to go up together.  The eight of us met up with Grandma and Grandpa, a couple of David's girls, and the Pollards.  It was so much fun.

Sophie isn't quite ready to hit the slopes and so we took turns hanging out with her here, out in the open air.  She was an angel.  She was SO good the entire day.  She never even napped.  She just enjoyed hanging out, taking in the sunshine, tromping around in the snow, and watching all the people.  (And eating yummy snacks!)  If every ski day could be this perfect I would take her all the time! 

That's Joshua and James over on the right with the Pollard and Adams girls.  Uncle Brett is a great sport...even though he didn't grow up skiing he still gives it a whirl every time. I don't think he loves it yet, but it sure makes his girls giggle and I think they like it. 

Here Grandma, Grandpa, and Sophie have joined the crew.  I think I must have been skiing with Michael, Luke and Annie when this was taken. 

Michael likes to keep us entertained on the ski lift...

Luke is always happy, and he gets the MOST IMPROVED skier award this year.  You would never even know this was his first year.  He is a natural!

We were trying to get all the grandkids lined up for a picture with Grandma and Grandpa and I really should have just taken a video.  We had people tumbling, crashing, and getting their skies all tied up. There is a pretty steep drop off that I am in constant fear of a kids skiing down when we do this. Amazingly, we actually did end of getting a great picture that I can't show you!

There goes my girl!

James, Abigail, Joshua, and Sadie-
These four pretty much just take off and do their own thing.  It is pretty neat that they all have each other and they really LOVE to ski together. There must be something about the mountains because they just get along great and do their thing. (This is not always the case with Joshua and James.)  They have their favorite runs they do together.  I can't believe how aggressive and fearless they are. I know I wasn't anywhere near that adventuresome at their age.  (Let's be honest any age.)   I love to watch them when I get a chance.  This is the crew Ryan likes to spend his time with when he can.  He fits right in! Sometimes we have to remind him that he is almost 40 and he can't do all crazy tricks from his youth. 

Joshua hadn't seen Annie ski yet and he couldn't believe it.  

I mostly spent my time with these three musketeers. 

Isabelle (way up front), Alexis, and Annie.  Alexis is a natural caretaker and always checks to make sure the beginners are okay. his element.

Grandpa and the girls...isn't it beautiful!?

Here comes Sadie...

We kept getting frustrated because every time I tried to get a great shot of Joshua taking a jump off something my camera would freeze up.  Even though I missed the good shots, I still think you can't go wrong with a photo like this...

This one at least he was airborne..just a little late on the snapshot. 

I just thought this picture of Lauren sitting with me relaxing in the sun was cute...

The next day Ryan had to get back to work, and some of the kids wanted to stay home and relax.  I headed up with three of the boys.  It was not the perfect day that we had had the day before, but we had fun.  I think we experienced every kind of weather possible on the mountain that day.  Cold, Hail, Snow, Sleet, Fog, Sunshine... everything. 

Anyone who has even skied at Grand Targhee is familiar with the "Panties and Bra" tree located on the side of the chair lift where all the CHILDREN ski.  They always ask the first time they go, "Why would someone throw their bikini/underwear/whatever in a tree?"  Friday, the older kids realized that this beauty had fallen off the tree and a race quickly ensued down the mountain to retrieve the brazier. 

Funny enough, Luke was the first to grab it. He waved it around and around like he had won a prize.  Meanwhile, all the people above on the lift were getting a chuckle. 

It was like his banner of freedom....Women's rights for all!

Joshua had to give it a try...definitely not his mama'a bra.  

He wanted to be sure and return it to it's rightful tree on the way back up.  Unfortunately, it caught on his pole  or glove and floated gracefully back down to where they had found it.  I think some other kids discovered it and got to have a little excitement trying to throw it back in the tree too...
PS Boys, your fun with large braziers ends here.  

Well, that wraps up our fun and exciting Spring Break in the mountains.   It is back to school bright and early tomorrow morning.  Not looking forward to that one...

Friday, March 22, 2013

I miss these guys....

In some ways this week as FLOWN by.  Everyday has been so packed with appointments, meetings, lunches, scouts...BUSY, BUSY, BUSY.  But looking back on these pictures it seems like it has been a LONG time since I took them.  Ryan went to California for business and took these two little gremlins with him to visit their Nana and Papa.  I took these pictures on the way out the door.  

(They all had to wear green because even though they would be in the car for 12 hours, it was St Patricks Day.)

All ready to go...

Talking about the fun drive ahead.  (I don't think they remembered what they were in for.)

Sophie wasn't into saying goodbye too much.  She was more into her yogurt. 

BYE BYE, MOM!  (Good thing there is no one taking a picture of me because this was the part where I was bawling my eyes out.)  

Letting my kids leave always feels SOOO wrong.  This could be due to several factors:

A.  The Spirit is guiding and prompting me that maybe this is the wrong decision for some unforeseen reason.
B.  It's too long a drive, what if it is too much for Nana and Papa, it might be so hard, maybe it would just be easier to keep them here.
C.  I am a crazy, psycho  (but I maintain normal) mom.  

Ryan assured me that the correct answer is C. 

And with that, I let them go.  Looking back I think the "unforeseen" reason COULD have been that my sweet mother-in-law has had the flu all week so I feel really bad about that.  Besides that, however, it sounds like the girls have been having a ball!  And I have to be honest, it has been nice to be able to focus all my attention on the four boys.  The girls are really good at soaking up that attention stuff.  I have had so much going on that it would made for a really stressful week even with Ryan here and the girls.  Knowing they are being watched and cared for while I run all over the town has been wonderful! Thank you Nana, Papa, Michele, and Dad!

Plus, they are doing lots of fun things like this...
Eating popcorn and watching a movie with Papa and cousin, Presley. 

Thank Goodness Aunt Michele was visiting so she could help with the girls a bit while Nana was sick. She posted this online with the caption, "Here comes trouble!"  I am so glad the girls were able to spend time with them as well. 

I am ready for them to come running through the door though!  

Annie...I miss your help around the house!  

Sophie-the boys miss wrestling and playing with you.  Even Joshua has been complaining after school, "It's just too quiet around here."  

Who ever thought that with all these boys things would be TOO quiet?

And of course, WE MISS YOU TOO, DAD!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Citizenship in the Nation

Man, this picture was taken this summer and I can't believe how much these guys have grown in the past six months!  Joshua's Eagle is right around the corner....and I am realizing he is just the beginning of our Scouting journey with three more boys to follow.  Yikes!

Even though that seems like a bit of a nightmare ...I am really glad my kids have the opportunity and the encouragement of those around them to do Scouting.  They are learning the good old fashioned things that all boys should know, but in our age of gadgets and gaming get left behind. 

Every year for the past three years I have been teaching the "Citizenship in the Nation" merit badge for  the boys in our Stake.  It is one of the required merit badges that they really are not excited about and come to the class because they "have" to.  I will be honest, there are times when I HATE teaching the class.  I gain a WHOLE new appreciation for Jr High teachers.  Seriously.  

I also gain a new appreciation for these young men.  Of course they can be obnoxious, rude at times, and seem disinterested.  But they are also sweet, eager to learn, and can be very endearing. 

And of course, I re-gain my love for our Country!  It is really a crash course in American Heritage/Pol. Sci 101/American Government all combined into one.  If anything, I just hope the boys leave with a love for their country and a desire to serve and make it better.  

We talk about the Constitution and the Establishment Clause...
Freedom of Religion
“Congress shall make no law respecting an ESTABLISHMENT of religion or prohibiting the free exercise there of…”

The 19th Amendment and the Women's right to vote...I have to get my little feminist speech in there when I can! Kidding....sort of. 

Of course, the boys favorite Amendment is always the Second...

They didn't think that joke was that funny.  Sheesh, kids these days. 

I try to talk about politics around the world a bit, just so they can see that not every one enjoys the freedoms that we often just take for granted.  
 I try to keep things positive and focus on the good things about our country since they will get enough of the bad from their liberal college professors.  Just kidding, but really...sometimes there are some things that you just can't sugar-coat especially when it comes to good old politicians.  They are at the age where they already have learned that no matter what their political leanings are...there are some politicians out there that don't make the best of decisions.  

I ask, "Who knows who are Senators from Idaho are?"  

Usually, most don't know James Risch.  (Sorry, James!)  Some do know that Michael Crapo is one of them.  They ALL seem to think it is so funny to say...

"Oh, I know one, Michael CRAP-o."  This happens every time.  This time that was followed by, 

"Wasn't he the guy that just got arrested for Drunk Driving?"  

"Oh, ya, I remember that!"  

"Ya, what WAS he doing?"  

Then I get to tell the boys that one of their requirements is to write a letter to one of their trustworthy Representatives about a bill, or a concern, or even a letter of thanks.  

Dear Senator Crapo, 

Thanks for getting buzzed while you were in Washington DC and then driving back to your place while under the influence.  We appreciate your fine example.  We are just glad you had your pants on when you got pulled over. Things could always be worse. 

We are learning about the Amendments.  I bet you are grateful for Amendments 4-8, guaranteeing the rights of the accused.  I hope they let you know what you were being charged with when you were pulled over, and I hope you know that you have the a right to an attorney.  Did you plead the fifth at that time?  We want to know all the details!  Let us know how it is going!  

Thanks,  Your Local Boy Scouts of America in Idaho

Just kidding.  We didn't write any such letter, and I am sure justice was carried out. 

We go over several famous speeches....

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live

 in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of 

their skin but by the content of their character."

Martin Luther King

"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if 

you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern

 Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this 

gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate!Mr. Gorbachev, 

tear down this wall!'"

Ronald Reagan 

  "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country."
John F Kennedy

Those are just a few of the speeches...but they give me the chills every time! 

I think this sign from the time around the 18th Amendment is so funny.  Funny and sweet. 
"Please help me to keep him pure..."

And then I thought this one celebrating the 21st Amendment was kind of catchy.  I tried to sing the words to the boys but they didn't really appreciate it.  

 Did you know that the Idaho Capitol building is the only Capitol heated with Geothermal Energy.  The hot water comes from 3000 feet below the ground.  And all this time people think that we are just a bunch of hello, we are like the original environmentalist here in Idaho! 
Did you also know that our Capitol has over 50,000 sq. ft of marble inside it. 

Well,  if you stuck with me through this whole blog post you should earn your Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge.  If you would have come to my class you would have gotten Chocolate Chip Cookies too.  I am not above bribing the kids to listen to me, not one bit!

The best day...

This past Thursday I had the best day.  My Dad came over the night before and asked if I wanted to take Annie skiing with him the next morning.  He was also going to ask Isabelle since she needed some help too and we had room for one more boy.  Since James has not been able to go for a month or so we took him along!  It was my kind of ski day....a whooping 55F on the mountain.  Awesome.  

However, before I can tell you about that day, I will start off with a trip I took with my parents and Annie the week prior.  

I forgot my socks at home.  Just testing out to see if a glove would work???

This was Annie's first time skiing.  We had a great time and it was a good introduction to the whole concept.  However, she never really "took off" on her own. I mostly skied with her in between my legs or she would crash because she could not stop.  It was still a fun day!

So Thursday when my Dad suggested we take Isabelle and Annie skiing I was expecting her to improve a little but didn't have huge expectations.  I was SHOCKED when the first run of the day she said, "I want to do it myself!" and off she went.  I don't know what clicked but she got it!

These two were such a great little pair.  I think they both helped each other.  

They were so excited to see a moose skiing on the mountain.  We had to snap a picture!

It was great to have James along for the day.  Because of his Seizures he has not been able to do any skiing.  However, we decided since the medication has been controlling them for the most part, and we were not doing any of the crazy skiing he usually would be fine.  I think he enjoyed missing a day of school and being up in the fresh air and sunshine.  I think he also missed skiing with Joshua, Abigail, and Sadie. They like to tear it up on the black diamonds and whatnot.  

I took these movies of Annie skiing...I realize as her Mom I probably get the biggest kick out of them.  But, I also post them for Grandma, Nana, and Papa!  I sent one of these to Ryan while we were up on the mountain and he said Sophie watched it 20 times.  

 What an awesome day!  THANK YOU Grandpa for taking us.  I could not have been more proud of Isabelle and Annie!  They did so great and were so much fun to be with.  It was also so nice to be able to be with James away from the regular grind of school and chores.

I love Spring Skiing!