Sunday, May 04, 2014

Great Wolf Lodge 2014

Well, I did a big update before this one, so feel free to look at that one too. (All 3 of my readers. :-))

I have a good friend who is an amazing photographer. I stole these pictures from her blog, and they perfectly capture our trip. I took a few pictures and video on my point and shoot so I will try to find those. Most of the time I was not trying to take pictures. I was there without Jeff so  I needed both hands most of the time. :-)

It has been our tradition for 2 years in a row to go to Great Wolf Lodge when we finish reading the Book of Mormon as a family. This year, we had friends who were going in March, but Jeff thought it would be too crazy with going to Arizona the next week and he wouldn't be able to get it off work. We weren't quite finished with the Book of Mormon, so I figured we would just go later. Well, I was starting to feel like sports was taking over our lives and that I hadn't had to chance to just hang out and have fun with my kids. I felt like I needed to go. I talked with Jeff and asked what he thought of me taking the kids by myself. I knew 2 other families would be there and that they would help where they could. He still thought I was crazy, but said to go for it!

So, on Thursday morning, I took Dallin aside and asked him if he would be willing to help with Caden so that I could go on slides with Bryce. That was the tricky part- Bryce wasn't tall enough to go on some of the slides without an adult. They wouldn't even let him go with Dallin. So, for this to work, Dallin would have to watch Caden sometimes so I could go with Bryce. Dallin's face lit up as he agreed and I told him to keep it a secret until I knew for sure. I showed up at school after lunch and pulled them all out of class. When I told them what we were doing they were very excited. :-) They were bummed when I told them I didn't bring electronic devices (my trip=my rules!) but I think it all went well. They were in very good spirits and we had a fantastic time. They found their friends and quickly paired up for the rides. I was very grateful for the other families being willing to take my kids with them on rides and sometimes they watched Caden so I could go on rides with the kids. It was a much needed spontaneous activity! Believe it or not, it was actually out of my comfort zone. A- I don't like driving and it was 3 hours away. B- I don't like being alone at night. I felt pretty safe there, and when we showed up, the front desk lady must have felt sorry for me because she upgraded my room to a king suite. Caden and I had a room to ourselves and a huge bed! The other kids had their own area and they were pretty happy too.  I couldn't have done this without our friends! It takes a village!

May Mishmash

So, I took a long break from blogging. I will admit life is busy with 4 kids. I try really hard to keep my days with Caden very low key so that I can be mentally and physically prepared for when the kids come home from school. I am truly loving having another baby around. I am also grateful for the knowledge that our family is complete. I wondered if I would every truly feel this way. I am glad to say I do. :-)

Here is our happenings from the first quarter of the year, yes it's been 3 months!

January- Sadly, I can't find our January pictures, so we will start with February! :-)

Snow in Oregon is a big deal. The kids got a couple of days off school and enjoyed playing in it.

 Caden looked longingly out the window, so I decided to give him a chance to play.
 He realized it was not too fun! :-)
 Indoor play with Dad is a lot more fun!
 Bryce went ice skating with his first grade class and I was able to join him. He wasn't too fond of ice skating the first time we went, so I was proud of him for giving it another go. I was also impressed with his teacher for planning it with first graders! They were learning about penguins and their habitat. Cute correlation!
 All 3 kids participated in a spelling bee. Bryce ended up winning against the first and second graders and even a 3rd grader. Emily made it to the top 2 of her class and they had a real battle going back and forth 14 times before she finally made a mistake. Dallin ended up winning the whole thing for the middle schoolers. I most enjoyed watching and listening to them study their words. It was great to see them do it together.

 Dallin turned 12 in February! This is a picture from his court of honor, but he also received the priesthood. It was a pretty awesome day.
 What made it even more special was that his grandma and grandpa Marker were there to share the experience!
 They surprised him by bringing his cousins Carsen and Spencer with them! It was a fun weekend!
 We are glad they all came to visit!

 Dallin played a lot of basketball! Gotta love those bright orange shoes and socks with the red uniform. Apparently it's what's cool these days!

Caden turned 1, but that's not for a few more weeks in this update. :-)
 Brent and Jeff have coached many teams together. It has been fun to watch the boys grow up in sports. This year they made it to the state tournament in Bend, OR.
 These 3 boys have been buddies since they were babies. It was the first time in 4 years that all 3 have been on a team together. They were all 3 starters and had a great year.
 We enjoyed being in Bend and used it as a vacation on our way to our next vacation for Spring Break!
 We went right on a plane to Arizona! All I wanted for my birthday was to be in a sunny place so we stayed with our friends the Jensens and had one of the best weeks of our lives!

 We went to the Grand Canyon, but first made a stop that I can't remember the name of. :-) Must have been really memorable.
 I guess it can't compare to the Grand Canyon itself. It truly was as magnificent as they say. We caught the end of a sunset. (I feel like Jeff and I are always chasing sunsets! Can't quite get there on time) Bryce was in a bad mood because it was really cold and we were in a hurry so we didn't grab his pants!!
 I made the kids wake up early to catch the sunrise the next morning and oddly they didn't complain. It was incredibly beautiful, although this picture doesn't do it justice!
 Here are my four kiddos.
 Jeff was a trooper and did most of the hiking with Caden.
 I was glad we decided to actually hike down into the Grand Canyon. I was very proud of my kids for not whining too much. All it took was the promise of a Wendy's frosty. :-)

 On my actual birthday we went to a spring training game of the Cubs v. The Mariners. It was so much fun in a brand new stadium. The kids of course complained how hot it was at 80 degrees. I was in heaven!

 The kids were pretty excited to have these game balls given to them. (No they didn't catch those!)
 The kids enjoyed the in ground trampoline!
 The night ended with Frozen being projected onto a wall! The Jensens are such a fun adventurous family!

 The kids loved scorpion hunting. I was a little surprised at how much they enjoyed smashing them with a mallet. Should I be concerned?
 Bryce enjoyed playing with all their toys!
 One beautiful afternoon was spent at a park with a huge fountain. (3rd largest in the world!)

 The kids favorite activity was chiseling out "apache tears" rocks.
 They had a blast with the Jensen children! And we love their parents! They planned a fun filled vacation for us! I didn't get pictures of us rapelling! Bryce was a maniac and Emily wanted to go over and over. She was mad at me for not going down next to her, but I could not be the responsible adult in that situation. Jeff went down with me and once was enough. :-)
 This cute kid turned 1 right after we got home! He is so much fun! He had pushed a shopping cart around every day in Arizona so I knew it would be the perfect gift.

 He was done by the end of the night!

And now we are on to the next phase- the 12-18 month stage. Heaven help us! He is getting into everything! He started walking about 2 weeks after he turned 1. It was fun to see the progression. He has about 10 words, with dog being the first and then dad. He does say Mom now every once in a while. The other ones are nana(banana), binky, baseball, basketball, ball, (can you tell he is a Marker?), cracker, noodle, milk (still does the sign), more (does the sign).

I still have a lot more to catch up, but this is a good start! My mom and Harold were here visiting this week and were able to catch a couple of kid baseball games. That is what our life consists of right now- Bryce and Dallin are in Baseball and Emily is in softball. It is busy but a lot of fun. The kids adore their baby brother!