Sunday, April 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Point Extravaganza

After our weekly Bacon Wednesday breakfast last week, we went on a family outing to the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point.  I adore tulips and every year I want to go to this.  And every year (at least the last five) I forget.  Or I just don't find time in the schedule. 
Maybe it's because my dream is to meander through the gardens while holding hands with Abe on a romantic date.  Darn those elusive romantic dates.
Walmart and Costco are necessary, practical, and better than nothing, but not terribly romantic.
Knowing that the alone time on a romantic date would most likely prove elusive once again, we took the whole family along with us.  A few of them were hesitant to come along, but it is hard to not be impressed by the beautiful flowers and landscaping of the gardens.
Team Little Kids is about to become Team Middle Kids.  I think Peter and new baby will be the new little kids.
A moment together.
Peter was quite content to be strolled around and this moment of freedom from the stroller was short-lived, as he was a runner.
A couple days later I took the little boys back to Thanksgiving Point to the Farm Country area.  Peter loves animals so much, I thought he needed to ride a pony.  He loved it!  The weather had really warmed up and I figured it was just going to get hotter and I was going to get more uncomfortable and feel like doing less and less, so now was the time.  I didn't take into account the effect of the great outdoors on a hot windy day on my allergies.
HOLY HANNAH!  I've been dying the last couple of days.  
Cannon was... shall we say... less than impressed with the whole experience.
And I quote, "Is it just me, or is Peter the only one having fun here?"

Cannon, you're only 7.  You can't be too cool for a petting farm yet.
Please humor your mamma for a couple more years at least.
Peter gets disco fever looking at the duck pond.
Being a baby of few words (as in none), he's really big into pointing to what he likes.

Spring Catch Up 2016

The kid's choir had their spring concert last weekend.  They performed a shortened concert version of  The Mikado, which to be honest, I am not at all familiar with.  I know it was written by Gilbert and Sullivan back in the 1800s-something and is set in Japan.  It was interesting, and while not my favorite concert they've ever put on, I always enjoy seeing my kiddos perform and I like them to be exposed to different types of music and cultural experiences.
If you're interested in locating my little darlings, Elinor is the tallest on the back row.
Cannon is second in from the left on the second row.
Faith is third in from the left on the bottom row.  They are all in the alto section.
This was a really wonderful moment last Sunday.  My dad is the choir director for his senior missionary branch.  They attend church in the beautiful chapel in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building right by Temple Square.  Grandpa asked Bethany to accompany his choir singing "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" and it was absolutely beautiful.  Abe and I were able to go to the Sacrament meeting to listen.  It must have been the largest, quietest branch in the whole church!
We finished our final kid's book club for the year with My Side of the Mountain.  I have now enjoyed doing that book with the older kids and younger kids.  For our snack we had nuts and berries and Abe helped in an activity of speed sorting of some nuts.
This group has been together for two years now and we're planning to meet next year as well.  It's fun to watch the kids as they mature and develop in their discussions.
We had the kids build forts for an activity-- not quite the same as hollowing out a tree to live in-- but you work with what resources you've got.  I was impressed with the aesthetic value of the ladies fort.  It was comfortable and welcoming.  It even had a little table.
 The boys had different priorities for their fort.
They built a very sturdy, camouflage, defensive structure.  And any left over materials were used for weapons, rather than home furnishings.
I love the differences between girls and boys.  I love their different qualities and how they compliment each other.
Peter really, really likes trains.  Imagine his joy when his siblings showed him how to be a human train!  Choo-choo!
Cannon would turn it into a human conga line!
Peter had his first in-home speech therapy appointment last week.  He loved it because someone came over to just play games with him for 45 minutes.  He had been quite cranky all morning, but that play time made him so happy.  As much as I think he is constantly attended to and played with, I suspect he may benefit from a little more one on one playtime.  He'll have his appointments every couple of weeks.
Love, love love this picture.  Abe took the kids to the Salt Lake Temple to do baptisms.  It is rather shocking to me how tall they all look.  Or rather, how not-tall Abe looks compared to them.
I am overjoyed to be having another girl, but look how much fun this is!
It's pretty awesome being the mother of a brood of little boys.
For years now, George has this funny eyebrow look he can do.  Nobody else can quite copy it, and I've always found it charming.
Peter tried to copy it...
...but to no avail.
George recently showed up for dinner sporting a very stylish 1980's look.  Much of the time he can be found wearing one glove on one hand.  He calls it his Michael Jackson glove.
The first watermelon of the season.  Glorious!  Peter was a very big fan.
That is just how I feel about watermelon.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Pregnancy Update and Clever Children

I don't know why it is that I feel so much better in some pregnancies than others.  You would think it would be age or weight related-- the older and bigger I get, the worse I feel.  But that does not seem to be the case.  Granted I am moving slower this go round than I did when I was expecting Clark and Bethany, but I'm feeling mentally and physically pretty good-- all things considered.  I'm just trying to take it easy and walk a few mornings a week with my friend.  She's a good sport to slow down as I slow down.
I was recently notified that my Dr. suddenly left the practice I was going to.  At first I was slightly annoyed, but I had an appointment last week with another Dr. in the practice whom I really, really liked, so I don't think it will be a problem at all.  And let's face it, I have quite a bit of experience, so I will most likely be the one calling the shots and telling him how things are going to go down.  We shall see.
This is definitely the fastest a pregnancy has ever gone for me.  I am in shock that I have only three months left.  That's third trimester talk!  WHAT???!!!  As a family we're all pretty excited for the summer's activities-- a new baby, summer camps galore, the Olympics, a play, and let's not forget Slurpees and watermelon!
But first we are plowing on, trying to get school work finished up.   The truth is, some members of this family will be working on school work well into the summer.  We have such good intentions, but we usually get a little behind the ball during the second semester of the school year.
The Fox family is now the Beaver family.
We've been collecting a wood/stick pile in the back yard for years.  It is not for any emergency preparedness purpose (please don't give us that much credit).  Rather they are scrap wood or fallen branches we've collected off the lawn and don't know what else to do with them.  "The Hole" in the back yard, which has, in years past, been made into an actual pond, has now been transformed into a fort, but it looks like a beavers lodge.
A little game of ice hockey on the kitchen/living room floor.  They made their sticks and penalty box out of PVC pipe from the fort building kit they got for Christmas.  They wore several pairs of socks to help them slide around and protect their feet and ankles from swinging sticks.
I love clever children.  I especially love when they come up with their awesome ideas after being denied screen time.  10 points for Mom!
Saturday was painting day.  When the bigger kids were little I had some great paint sets and we painted and did artsy projects more frequently.  While watching a kids show on PBS a couple months ago, they showed little kids painting and I thought, "Oh, yeah... I guess since nobody is in preschool or school... I'm supposed to make sure they do stuff like that."
So we replenished our supply of painting supplies and last Saturday we had at it.  I admit it was fun.
Cannon begins work on Starry, Starry Night".
And I don't want to brag or anything... but yeah... I did this.
I know, I know.  Impressive.  And so original.  I'm visionary that way.
Remember when Elinor got cute little chirping chicks for her birthday back in February?
Well, darn it!  They grew up.
We've made a little enclosure for them in the backyard, but have yet to come up with a chicken coop.  Have I mentioned we aren't exactly handy with building materials?  Oh well, we'll come up with something.  I think Faith thinks she is training a falcon, like in My Side of the Mountain.  Sorry, Sweetheart, that bird might not have the potential you think it does.

Spokane Spring Break

I must have been having so much fun (or I was so dang tired) that I never got around to posting about our time in Spokane.  After the glory of winning the Idaho Regional we immediately headed up to visit family in Abe's hometown.  This is a much anticipated, much enjoyed trip every year.  We usually go in the summer for a family reunion, but since we're expecting a new little one right about that time, we decided to go early.  When Abe and I were engaged we went to Spokane in the springtime and I don't know that we've been back at that time of year since then.  It was lovely.
A highlight was going downtown to see the Spokane Falls.  Even though Abe is quite disturbed by heights, he braved going across the falls in a gondola (a sky ride).  We divided up boys and girls.
You'd have thought we would be braver.  And we were...
...until near the end of the ride, when Faith noticed a small spider descending onto my head.
Being suspended a hundred feet in the air over rushing rough waters in a small metal box--- no problem.
A very small arachnid coming towards me in said box... that was a very big problem.
I do remember these lovelies being little girls... and it wasn't that long ago.  Sigh.
Brotherly love.
I like how Abe is trying to put on a happy face.  I assure you he was even less comfortable than he looks.
Besides our one outing to the falls, the entire trip to Spokane was cousin immersion time.  Here's a picture of the younger teenagers headed to the mall for a bit of shopping and a movie.  Addy, Elinor, Abby, and Annie.  Try saying their names three times fast.  
Clark and the Babes headed out for pizza and dessert.  This group didn't even have to be chaufeurred anywhere.
Jessica and Faith were buddies.
We got in on one of the monthly "Grandma Story Times".  The Aunts run the show these days as it is a little much for Grandma.  They did stories in the playroom while the teenagers hid the eggs for a belated Easter egg hut.  Cannon and George either look very enthralled or very alarmed!
Daddy/Daughter 4-wheeling adventure.
Father/Son time.
I admit that I am happiest being a creature of routine in my own home.  I fear I tend to be a little grouchy and irritable when on vacation.  I must be such fun to travel with.
But fortunately for me and our children, Abe is not like me.  He's a cheerful, even keeled guy, most of the time, but he is very relaxed and fun while on vacation.
Faith's turn to have fun with Dad.
This is a digital player piano and Cannon had me in stitches as he pretended to play "Root Beer Rag" by Billy Joel.
We had a marvelous time on our traditional date with Jesse and Amy.  
Totally off topic-- we have a new missionary in our ward who spoke last Sunday.  Our whole family was having a hard time keeping a straight face because this young elder reminded us SO MUCH of one of the Fox boys.  He should be the 8th brother.  What do you think?
We really thought he was a combination of Jesse and Baden.  He even had the same cheerful Fox countenance and mannerisms.
 A stop at the cemetery to visit Abe's grandparents grave.  He is so supportive of visiting so much of my family each Memorial Day.  It was nice to go visit his family.
I love this picture with George and Grandpa and cousin, Brigham.  As we were packing up and loading the car I noticed that George's bag was bulging with additional items we had not brought up with us.  Upon investigation, we found five large bug catching jars, three golf balls, one metal stake, one metal lawn mower part, and a collection of acorns shoved into his bag.  Except for the three of the jars, he had permission to take everything.  One man's trash is another man's treasure.
One more picture of the ladies in their newly purchased anchor shirts.  I guess anchors are very trendy these days.  Cute girls.
All in all, it was a lovely trip to Spokane and even though being on a trip is sometimes hard for me, I LOVE coming home and feel much more relaxed than before I left.