A whole bunch about us you may have never wanted to know.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Family Reunion (and beyond) Highlights

We had various members of Paul's family here with us for more than a week, and it was a blast! I can't believe it's already over since we had been looking forward to it for months ...

In any case, here is just a small taste of what we did.

We went swimming:

We went to the Bean (life science) Museum at BYU (which, turns out, can be a little freaky for some kids):

We went to Temple Square:

(This last pic is in a little kids' room where there are bunches of dolls to play with. People kept walking past Becca, taking a second look and then being shocked when they saw her "doll" move ... :)

We toured the Krishna Temple and rode llamas (BTW, Melissa, the lady there is STILL cranky!):

(Shayla was so hot and bored that this was her pose. Love it! :)

We went to Salem Pond for canoeing:

We had Family Olympics:

And a spontaneous wedding:

(Yes, everyone had to dance afterward, so I even caught Paul 'doing "the sprinkler" in this shot. :)

We also made a family movie ("Princess Leia Visits the Planet of Make-Believe"), which I am very excited about -- I think it turned out great, and I am happy with the ending. (I had the idea for the movie months ago but just got the ending -- via a friend's idea -- last week!)

It was so much fun and worth all the planning. We sure love our Brown cousins!

(This pic includes all but the three in Oregon. :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Too busy to blog :)

Next weekend is Paul's family reunion, and we're hosting it here in Utah. That means we have three of his four siblings headed this way for a weekend of fun. The great news is that we get to have some of them arrive early and spend extra time with them. Because everyone lives so far away (Arizona and Washington), we don't get to see each other much. We are thrilled for our kids to see their cousins after not seeing them for a couple of years. I've been busily planning activities and hope we don't bore them to death ... or run them too ragged. ;)

In the meantime we're enjoying our summer. We haven't had a free Saturday this summer yet due to our trip to Omaha, the CF walk, and helping my sister move. But in a couple of weeks we'll have a Saturday with time to actually get something done at our house. Paul has started the process of putting our fence back up since it was removed during our addition. There is just a small piece that needs putting back up, but until it's done we're not fully fenced. We're okay right now w/the ages of our kids, but we might as well get it back up before cousins of younger ages arrive and need it. :)

I've also implemented a new kitchen rule to keep my kids from munching all day. We have hours where the kitchen is open, and the rest of the time the kitchen is closed. If I didn't implement this, my kids wouldn't eat breakfast until 10 a.m. and then they'd want snacks all day long. I can't believe how quickly they have caught on to this. Even Shayla, when she wants to eat something, says, "Mom, is the kitchen open?" If I say no then she accepts that and waits. Hopefully it'll also help them eat better meals since they aren't snacking all day long.

Once things settle down after the reunion I'll also get doing the math activities I wanted to do this summer -- hopefully! Both Tyler and Becca need to learn their times-tables, and Zachary should practice addition/subtraction. But until we're done preparing and having the family reunion that's falling by the wayside. I still don't get how people home-school. I would have great intentions and then neglect their education when other things came up ... just like I do EVERY summer! :) We are having them read and finally joined the summer reading program. My kids love going to the library, but I'm a little embarrassed to say we haven't been for something like three years. (I'm not TOO embarrassed about it, though, because we buy lots of books from Scholastic and book fairs, and they use their school's library during the school year. They've read plenty without visiting the city library, which is a small library anyway.)

In any case, when I'm busy next week having fun with Paul's sibs I probably will be too busy to post. How will you ever survive without a blog from me for a whole week? ;)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day Camp

I had the joy of attending Cub Scout Day Camp with Tyler again this year. It is such a blast to see him having so much fun at the different activities and with all of his friends. Here are some pics of his fun adventures:

This is always a favorite -- BB Guns:

They enjoyed this game, and I was glad we played it in the afternoon since the morning was a bit chilly. There were holes in this pipe they boys had to try to cover as their teammate poured water in the top:

Turns out it was a little harder than they thought it would be:

Same with this:

This was a horizontal climbing wall. They had to go across this side and three others to complete it:

They each made a model airplane:

And a rocket. They LOVED this part. The pipes were hooked up to an air compressor that would shoot out a burst of air when they pushed a button. (Dad, I'm thinking you've gotta rig up one of these when you get home!) The rockets were paper and a little piece of foam as the nose. Here is Tyler putting his on to be shot:

And that little guy clear out in the field is him retrieving his:

What I loved about this is that it didn't matter whether someone's rocket hit another person -- it was made of foam and paper and therefore wouldn't hurt anyone. So they shot them off again and again and again ...

This was another favorite, and Tyler did better than last year:

Needless to say, the day felt short and the boys had a blast! I can't wait for next year when both of my boys will get to go. :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Finally we have success! We have been working with Zachary on riding a bike without training wheels for a couple of years now, and he's just too anxious to try it. (This from the boy who could walk for months before he would actually walk -- unless he really wanted something -- because he fell over once early on.) Anyway, he showed a little desire again this week, so Paul went out and practiced with him.

He was VERY nervous (just look at his face in this pic!), but he kept at it, even after a couple of falls:

Tyler, who knows a key to success is to ride faster, challenged Zachary to a race. He kept telling him to go as fast (or faster) than he was and that it would help. Of course, when you're not sure of riding, faster is scary -- but I think Tyler's idea really helped:

Once Zachary had a couple of successful runs, he realized he could beat Tyler. Just look at how happy he is to realize he's ahead of Tyler (and riding w/o Paul's help!):

He didn't get starting and stopping until the next day, so even after this crash ending, he was thrilled to have done it and to beat Tyler in the process:

If you didn't notice above, you can see Tyler sprinting to the garage once Zachary had done it. He came back with this sign:

"Victorious! No training wheels." What a great brother. I LOVE that my boys are such good friends and love each other so much. In fact, after all was said and done and I went back to cleaning in the garage, I looked up to see them walk into the garage like this:

THAT is enough to melt a mother's heart. :)

Next we'll work on this one:

But with the way she's already riding this bike without a hitch, I think we'll have a bit of an easier go getting her to ride sans training wheels ... and long before she's seven ... (we can hope anyway!).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Great Strides

Saturday we got to participate in the Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk. This is something we do every year to raise money for the CF Foundation and to support my niece, Lauren, who has CF. The kids love the activities they have there afterward.

This year the lunch was sponsored by Chick-fil-a. Talk about yummy chicken sandwiches! Anyway, they also had their "mascot" there:

The billboard with the cows writing, "Eat Mor Chikin" is still one of the most creative billboards I've seen ...

The boys ALWAYS love to see Cosmo. Maybe UVU's Wolverine didn't like that they weren't as excited to see him, so he gave bunny ears to Cosmo:

A little later, though, the boys had a guy build them balloon swords. The Wolverine came over to Tyler as he was eating lunch and challenged him. They dueled:

And then the Wolverine's sword deflated completely:

It was the funniest thing! I so wish I had the video camera going, because it was hilarious. Just look at Tyler's face. Too bad he was in the shade. But at least Paul got pics of the spontaneous (and unintentionally funny) duel.

There were also some really big fire trucks there, so the boys got to go in and try on some of the equipment:

It was hot to walk out in the sun, but we definitely enjoy it every year. It appears donations were down this year (not surprising) but hopefully they'll press onward and find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis soon!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Princess party

Shayla got her first friend party this year, so of course it had to be a princess party. I decided we'd keep it very small with only a few friends, and that seemed to work out very well.

First she had to get ready. The second Shayla got money from Grandma for her birthday, she had to go buy princess shoes. Funny thing is I had seen them before and was tempted to get them but didn't. However, once she got money from Grandma we went back and got them:

We also wanted to get her a crown that wasn't broken, so we went to Partyland where they had a great selection. She wanted the one that said Happy Birthday on it:

Once she was all set, I got the "I'm a princess and I'm having a princess party" show:

Side note: After the party when she couldn't decide which of the four pairs to wear she solved that problem by wearing all four:

Anyway, the girls all showed up dressed as princesses:

They LOVED making princess play-dough (homemade play dough with glitter). Thanks for the idea, Jennifer!

I didn't think it was possible to fit in as much glitter as they did, but then again, I'd never tried it before. :)

Shayla gave everyone some princess bling. (Love Walmart -- 12 of these for 1 buck!)

I am getting lazy with cakes, especially since my kids love cake toppers. This time I went to the toy section and got a Cinderella scene. Shayla LOVED it, because Cinderella is her favorite, but pink is also her favorite, and this is Cinderella in pink (in the outfit her animal friends made for her):

They all loved eating the chocolate covered cones that made up the castle. And Shayla was very cute trying to blow out candles (which she did after about five attempts :).

Before everyone left Shayla gave them a huge princess coloring book. (Thanks Dollar Tree!):

Shayla loved her party and is sure enjoying her new princess dress. In fact, she's worn it for four days straight now. Too bad it didn't come with a tag saying how to wash it! :) I'm sure I'll figure it out soon ...