Thursday, May 25, 2017

hiking prep for our BIG hike.

By the time this posts, this guy and I will be hours away from hitting our big hike: the Grand Canyon, rim to rim, which is twenty-four miles.
I pretty much might die.  So send prayers our way!!

Oh boy.

This has been kind of an adventure because there was some kind of water pipe problem or something or other that closed off hiking options, and because of that we thought we may not be able to do it (family scheduling conflicts).  

But then it opened back up again a few weeks ago and we decided we were going to go for it.  

The original plan was to do Rim-to-Rim-to-RIM (yes, all the way down and up, then down and up again the next day), but Dave and I have a little family reunion with his family the second day so we unfortunately couldn't do the second day (dang!).  We didn't know if we were going to be able to figure out the logistics of getting there and getting back for this reunion, but everything has kind of fallen into place so I guess it's meant to be!  And we're excited.  (The rest of the group will continue on the next day, and another couple will bring us a car on the North side so they can hike back with everyone else and we will head out.)

I mentioned back on Mother's Day that Dave and I have different ideas about hiking.  We both like it and dread it in totally different ways.  For example, Dave is not a fan of hiking with Lucy in tow because it makes him worry so much about her, and I am a huge fan of easy stuff with her because it means she's "in the arena" and seeing and experiencing things before she really can't any more.  Dave loves the "getting there" and I love the "enjoying the journey."  So it's going to be fun to see if we can enjoy both on this big wing-dinger of a hike!  

I love to go spring hiking with friends so I've tried to get out whenever I can, and Dave and I did a little hike together (back HERE and another one I haven't written about yet, but WILL), but we decided we better do a semi-long hike before the real deal to prepare.

So we got up at 4:45 on Saturday and hit a close-by trail to get in as many miles as we could.
Oh man that is early, but the desert is so gorgeous in the sunrise.
Even if it's just whisking by my car window, colors rushing together to create so much beauty.
We got our water packs ready and headed off (with a few of the other people who will be hiking the real deal with us).
(We were with some friends too, but all I got was this pic. with anyone else...which is appropriate since this may be much of my view hiking the Grand Canyon.)


I clocked in close to sixteen miles that day.
By the end my knee was starting to seize up a little bit, so I took a whole slew of pictures to take my mind off of it.


So I'm taking you along with me here for a minute, cause isn't this just so beautiful?

I think this hike is going to be hard, but the biggest thing I'm worried about is not having my real camera to capture it all.  Wish I could hike it along!

By the end my hands were so swollen it was nasty!
(Half way through my ring was getting so tight I had to take it off..claustrophobia sets in for me!)
Can't wait to see how this day plays out...and all the gorgeous things we are going to be able to see along the way...if I'm not too delirious to see them:)

It will be a day to remember, that's for sure!  

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

meet the newest junior class media manager

Yep, it's Grace.
And she's going to be pretty dang good at it, I do believe.  Even though at this point we aren't even quite sure what jobs she'll be in charge of.

We went to the student council meeting last week and it made me fall in love with school spirit all over again.  She is going to be working with some great kids in there and I'm just excited for her.

High school is so fun.  GO GRACE!

girls camp prep

Ok, SCHOOL IS officially OUT!

It has been a crazy last few days, and then that last school bell went off and voila!  It's SUMMER!

Lots of celebrations, but until I upload pictures I'm talking about camp.

Because in just a little over a week we go there.

All the young women in our congregation as well as the neighboring congregations with all the leaders.  That means I get to go with Grace and Claire, and it's gonna be a good time.

I'm extra excited this time around since I get to be a "helper" and not the one in charge.  (Last trip up to the camp where we're going I was the Young Women's president in our congregation.)

Grace will be a YCL (youth camp leader) this year, so at the opening camp kick-off night she and the other YCL's worked to get everyone all hyped up.
They sang songs and did a skit.

We had a "camp certification night" where the girls learned a few camping tricks and skills.
They learned camp songs:

How to build and keep a campfire going:
...and how to cook a brownie inside an orange peel.
Pretty impressive, I must say.  I can't vouch for the flavor since I wasn't eating sugar, but the girls seemed to like them.
We are getting pretty excited and it's coming up fast!  Craziness that it is summer!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

a dog is a girls best friend

Our puppy is still wrecking havoc in our home here and there.  She seems to know exactly how to press our buttons sometimes, but she's still a puppy so we have to give her a little bit of a benefit of the doubt.

And we love her.

This kind of thing makes my heart swell for her more than ever:
Lucy has trained her...or she has trained Lucy, not sure which...to walk pretty great with her leash.

And at a time where Lucy needs a great companion, she's proving to be just the girl for her.
And that makes me so happy.

This is our favorite thing she does:
Seriously it is the funniest business around.  How do dogs know to get in that position when they get in a car?

Can you tell how much Bo is loving this hug?
Ha!

Here's a better one.
Oh yeah, just a girl and her dog.

Every time we walk, Lucy heads into school, her cheeks slathered with kisses from Bo and Bo whines and yelps and pulls because she just wants with all her heart to accompany that Lu of hers into the school.

Yes those walks to school were awesome until this week when I swear it was 185 degrees while we were walking...

She provides some pretty great entertainment for these older girls too:
Even Dave, though he grumbles and rolls his eyes, has a secret soft spot for this dog of ours.
...at least some of the time!

Many people have asked where we got her and from which breeder.  We got her in Utah through Goldendoodles Utah (here) and Kristen (the owner) was awesome to work with.
They say a dog is a man's best friend.  But in this case, I'm saying a dog is a girl's best friend because that little portrait above says it all :)

Monday, May 22, 2017

April little things

The end of the school year is TOMORROW, so I'm getting a little hustle on to catch up here.  

Life is coming at me too fast.  How is it already summer??

April started out with the day Lucy had been counting down for for a LONG time:  her official half birthday.
Yep, it's true.  And she won't let anyone get away with calling her a ten-year-old now, because she is WAY older than that.

We celebrated with a candle in a pancake and she thought that was just spectacular.

Conference weekend was one of my favorites...back HERE.

Grace helped raise money to fight diabetes at a color run:
Dave was in charge of the buses our stake (group of congregations) take to see the Easter pageant with any neighbors who want to join in.
He did a great job with all the organization and it was a pretty beautiful night to visit this beautiful place:
...along with thousands of other people in preparation for Easter.
(I think that's a screenshot from one of Claire's friends...love that it captured a portion of the throngs of people there.)

We've got another nephew engaged, and he and his fiance came to town.  It was so fun to have everyone over here to gather to meet this new soon-to-be-member of Dave's family.

I don't know how it happened, but I didn't get any pictures of HER!  And that's too bad because she's darling.  I'm sure we'll have a bunch coming up in August when they get married.  For now we got an adoring cousin with Bo:

...and some cousin love.

Grace sometimes is funny about pictures so I'll take what I can get:)

There she is...
...complete with her "sisters."

Lots of track meets (back HERE and one of the lessons she learned HERE).

Lots of walking to school taking advantage of the glorious weather too.
Lots of spring hiking back HERE.
Meanwhile Elle did her own kind of spring hiking over in Hawaii:
She had a few more little modeling things over there so I stole a few.
Brainfood deliveries again...(above).

Lucy was worried about me because I hadn't seen Beauty and the Beast (somehow I missed it when Dave took the other girls).  So she decided she'd take me on our own little "date" to see it.
Love that girl.

She also got really into chess.
I love how one night Dave took her aside and helped her google some killer moves to improve her tactics.

A friend from our Motherhood Retreats that I get to go to every other year (here) came to town, so I went and met up with her and her sis-in-law who's also in that motherhood group (and who lives here but who I never see, which yes, is really dumb).  I love these good women and it was so great to get caught up!
...and also inspired by them.

Vanessa (the one on the left) is the one who started Chatbooks (with her husband)...and it is a fabulous idea.  If you don't know about Chatbooks go HERE to check them out...super easy peasy way to get memories printed in the most simple yet awesome way.

She also just wrote a short, awesome book that offers lots of great mothering "hacks."  Loved reading through all those great ideas.  It looks like this:
...and you can find it HERE.

It is beginning:.  
Lots of teenager poser pictures.
I love it as a record to help remember all these great girls and fun times, but there's something just so different from when I was their age.  
Loved this letter from my Dad to Lucy that I may have already posted....

We went without sugar for the month of April.  Well, except for Conference Sunday and Easter.  

I talked a little about this back HERE (macros, etc.) and I showed how Lucy was a little sad looking at a birthday cake when all the cousins were over.  But I whipped up some healthy banana muffins for our non-sugar family:
...and I'm pretty sure anyone would chose those little hard things over chocolate chip bundt cake.  Ha!

Bo got her first hair cut:
(here)

We cleaned out and cleaned out and cleaned out some more.
...and there's still junk jammed in nooks and crannies around here.

Lucy is our game girl and keeps us situated with setting up and putting away games when we can fit in a quick one here or there.

I think I already posted this pic, but come on, it might be worth a double post:

Claire worked with Lucy on her piano lesson, which always melts my heart.



We went in and explained all about Lucy's syndrome to her class because of a question from one of the boys in her class.
Her teacher said things have been pretty great since then (not that they were horrible before), but I think sometimes knowledge is power.  And I loved giving those kids more power to understand Lucy and other kids who may have special needs.

The whole explanation about that is back HERE.

Lunch date with my 7th grader right after my talk with those 4th graders:

Lucy has some of the kindest friends.
They did a little lemonade stand and earned enough to buy a couple books at the book fair.
WOOHOO!

This is the only pic I got of the night our neighbors held a special little graduation ceremony for their son who completed his home school and headed off to college last month.  I thought it was appropriate that the sky was creating such a beautiful good-bye to him for the time-being.
(He went to India with us along with part of his family way back when and we love him and his family so much!  More about India back HERE.)

Elle and her friends are hard at work learning the art of skateboarding over in Hawaii.  Grace is friends with the little sister of one of her roommates, so they decided they better get busy skating too.
They are in LOVE with those skateboards these days!
...and I think they're actually getting pretty good at it!

We had a family of ducks hatch in our back yard.
I must admit they were pretty darn cute following their mother all over the place for a couple weeks.  The best was watching them try to get up these stairs, just hopping away with all their might.

They scared Bo Jangles to death.

We have a little bit of a wimpy dog :)  Dave took a video of her hiding under the car that is quite hilarious.

My college friend came to town and we promptly took her to the top of this mountain:
Check out those switch-backs.

Yowzas.

All about her trip back HERE.

Swim season is officially in high gear since it's hit 100 degrees a few times, gosh dang it!

My dear mother turned 70.

This was our family's way to celebrate:
Ha!  Can you even tell that's a "70"?

Here's the final version Claire's friends were trying to capture where Dave was the top of the exclamation mark and Bo was the bottom dot.
Ha!  We made a little video for her and here are Claire's friends who were the videographers:
LOVE YOU MOM!!

Claire and her Dad had a special "date" cleaning out the garage one Saturday and I can't resist capturing stuff like this:
Love it.

We've been trying to be on top of our money system (back HERE) but man, we are getting awful at the end of the school year!

Awful or not, we are trying, and little by little these kids are learning a little more about saving and spending and giving.

My friend and I went to a little workshop about home schooling.
We are thinking very seriously about pulling our junior high girls out for a little bit of afternoon extra reading and writing push next year.

So much wonderful information in that little afternoon workshop.

Lots more on that soon because if I do that I'll sure be asking for a lot of advice, but check out this lady's work over HERE.  Man alive she has put together so many great resources that I'm excited to look into.

Our cute neighbor had a birthday:

Working on a new Missionary Monday post about what's up with Max, and there are some of his pics. from April back HERE.  But for now, let's just check out this pic I found of Dave when he was on his own mission in Taiwan:
Is it just me or do they look SO much alike?

We celebrated some birthdays with friends with this gorgeous view:
Oh boy, I love the desert and these people.

I don't know why I think taking pics.of my messy office will inspire me to clean it...hasn't worked yet...

Dave's cute aunt threw a party for her husband (his uncle) who was turning 80.

It was seriously the cutest thing...cutest idea.  She had everyone bring a few things for an "auction."
Then everyone filled out these questionnaires about his life.
The more answers you got right, the more points you got to "buy" things at the auction.  (I took that pic above right when we started...don't worry, we got lots more right than that!)  But I thought it was such a great way to celebrate him and get to know more of his history together.  Loved it!!

Claire and I got enough points together for her to bid enough to get this ukulele, which she thought was the best thing on earth.


Our friends who hosted Elle on her internship in London (back HERE), went to Hawaii for a vacation and she took them on a wicked hike:

...and they sent pictures that made me so happy!

This is where Bo hides from us sometimes and makes us so darn mad:
Love that Claire draws up stuff like this on a whim:

We had Dave's parents over for dinner and FHE.
Love them dearly, and don't get to see them enough even though they live close.

This is Lucy's "work station."
She is there a LOT.

Lunch with these ladies one last time before our boys START COMING HOME FROM MISSIONS!!
Yes, four of Max's best friends left on missions directly after high school, which means they are all coming back this summer.

Makes me so excited, and also in awe that they are coming home so quick!  So happy for these moms.

A funny little moment after YW trying to fit the birthday sign in our tiny car with these great girls:

Claire joined us en route to school one day.

...and Dave and I took her out of school one day for our stake temple day (Lucy isn't old enough and Grace didn't have a lunch break so we had a special date with this one).

Went to the last home volleyball game...senior night and alumni night.  Had to go represent Max, and man alive we love that sport!
Makes me miss this boy right up there with the all-state kids:

Grace went to a concert with some friends and had the best night.



Our piano teacher is moving away.
...and we are so so so sad.

These girls have made so much progress this year!

Dave's good friend from college...and even the MTC came to visit.
Such a great guy!

We got to sneak away with Grace one weekend night to see our nephew's play.

He did such a great job!

Another one of Max's friends (this darling girl below) got married.
They are the cutest couple.

And last but not least...Claire's first year of club soccer came to an end.

She's spent SO MUCH TIME with these girls and has learned so much this year!
Phew!  Congrats if you made it through!
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