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

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grateful for my "busy" life

I'm not sure I ever mentioned that I'm now the Relief Society secretary. As such, I sit in on meetings where we talk about visiting teaching every month and make necessary adjustments. As we have discussed the needs (aka BUSY, BUSY lives) of various sisters, I am sooooo grateful for my version of a busy life. That said, I should probably clarify that my life really isn't very busy.

Yes, I have two callings (R.S. and cub scouts Bear leader) that require several hours of time every week. Yes, I have five children who all want my unlimited attention ... except the teen who sometimes wants to be alone but needs the attention. :) Yes, I have a husband who is in school in the evenings, so I have extra responsibilities that he used to cover. Yes, because of said husband's schedule the weekly lawn-mowing falls on my shoulders (which I sometimes share with Becca :). Yes, I have four people on my visiting teaching route now. Yes, I have two kids in piano lessons and have to "hold their hands" while they practice. Yes, my kids play soccer during the appropriate seasons, and yes, I attend all their programs and many field trips. Sounds pretty busy, right?

Well, actually it's just perfect. I have time to play with my kids when I so desire. I have time to socialize on Facebook and blogs, and even in person when I ever arrange it. I have time to visit my parents several times a week. I have time to go walking with a buddy every morning. I have time to make at least a weekly visit to the park with the kids and a friend. I have time to read books that I enjoy. I have time for family movie nights. I have time to watch my kids' latest tricks or read their latest books. I have time to scrapbook. I have time to veg in front of the TV in the evenings. I have time to get dinner made and have us eat together every night. I have time to just enjoy my life. (Which is why I probably don't have time to clean the house! ;)

There are definitely weeks when I feel a little overwhelmed, but right now especially (summer rocks!) I'm enjoying life pretty well. Just had to post a little gratitude. :)

Challenge Course Scare

Man, I can't believe how fast time is flying by! I never wrote about our challenge course on the family campout. It was crazy scary. I mean the craziest, scariest thing I've ever done. (Or, rather in my case, the scariest, craziest thing I've not done.)

I wanted Zachary to go on it right away so he wouldn't see others getting scared and not do it himself. My brother-in-law Rob went first, and then it was Zachary's turn.

Let me back up a little and explain the course: First you climb up a log that is hanging vertically from a chain. (This means it can sway and spin around, both of which add to the scare/difficulty.) It also has no hand-holds, and the footholds (steps carved into the log) are far apart and aren't just left-right-left. I really wasn't sure any kids would ever get up the log!

Then after climbing up that you're sooooo high in the air and walk across a wire sideways while holding onto a lax wire at the top. (You have to make your arms stiff and lean into them a little to get across effectively.) From there you step onto a platform very high in the trees and then onto another platform to go down the zipline. I just wanted to do the zipline! But I digress ...

So, Zachary went up the log so fast I almost missed him doing it! I was so surprised he didn't even seem scared:
That's my little boy clear up there!
I was soooooo proud of him! He was such a brave boy! And I think that helped the other kids be brave.

Tyler lost his footing on the log up, so he just hugged the pole and climbed like a bear. I loved it! Here he is on his part:
As you can see in the last picture, he loved it! He might have been scared at the top, but he didn't show it.

Paul and Becca also did it without a hitch. Becca had done it before and obviously didn't warn us of the difficulty or we probably would have gone to a different zipline!

And then it was my turn. I knew it looked hard, but I was prepared. I can do hard things. That said, I decided to go up the log as quickly as possible, because the log looked like the worst part. It started spinning. It started swaying. And I got sick. I just kept thinking of how high I was (probably about 15-18 feet high) and how this was so insecure. I didn't know if I should use the difficult footholds for my hands, or if I should just hug the log. Needless to say, I sat there panicked just like this:
I just couldn't go on. It was too scary. I have discovered that I can be in high places as long as it's secure, but if it's an edge or something more insane like this, it terrifies me. I had seen my mom also have extreme fear about this point on the course, and she pressed through. I saw my nephew terrified to go down the zipline, but he did it. But I couldn't. So, I let them know I was giving up :( and they had me step off of the log and I swung down to the ground. Man! I was the only one in our family who was too scared to do it.

I later thought I should have just kept going and if I fell, the line would catch me just as it had when I stepped off the log. Duh. But I obviously didn't have that thought at the time. I really was bummed to not go down the zipline since I love them! Anyway, I hope I'll have a chance to do this challenge again in the future and that I'll actually be brave enough to complete it!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Family Campout

Last week we had our Palmer family campout. It appears we're making this a bi-annual event, and it's a blast! Mind you, we froze our tooshies off the first night (well, everyone else did anyway), but it was a blast.

We arrived on Thursday and were told there was a mom and baby moose and a mom and baby bear in the area so to keep the kids on the pathways and such. Okay, not the best thing to tell a mom with an overactive imagination as it is. (My SIL saw the bear, and that night when I needed to go to the restroom I couldn't bring myself to go in the middle of the night -- what if I unknowingly met up with the bear? Sigh.)

Anyway, there was still snow on the ground at our campground and around the yurts. Any idea what a yurt is? We make sure to get a campground with yurts, which are basically round cabins. We feel very blessed to go to the Heber Valley Campground, because it has running water, a fridge and a fire pit for each campground. And each restroom is shared between you and one other campground. It's very nice, but you have to schedule a year ahead, thus our decisions to go when it was so cold ...

Friday morning we played Minute to Win It. My sister Rebecca had it all planned out, and it was a blast. Here are some of the "contestants" during their attempts ...

Becca trying to use a baseball in nylons on her head to knock over water bottles:
Tyler trying to get a marble into the one black square on the racquet by using only his body movements:

Zachary trying to catch pencils that were resting on the back of his hand:

Shayla trying to balance dice on a popsicle stick in her mouth:

Paul trying to blow cups off the table from a balloon he had to blow up:

The most difficult game that made everyone dizzy -- try to get 120 counts on a pedometer attached to your forehead:

And the most amazing feat? My brother Dustin rolled a quarter into the times of a fork:

I didn't think that one was possible.

The sweetest thing that happened was the last night of the campout. We had knelt down for family prayer, and Austin followed our lead and folded his arms and then cocked his head to the side. It was adorable! We tried to get him to do it again, and this is what I got:

As mentioned, my SIL saw a bear, but her baby bear is the only one I saw:

Shayla happened to pack her "Snow Princess" shirt, so of course I had to take a picture of her with one of the snow piles:

The boys LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Grandpa's swords. He brought them again, and they are always a hit. (If you haven't seen a yurt, you can look at this one in the background):

This was a game my dad brought. Each pipe has different holes and shapes. Then you put a golf ball in the end one and everyone tries to pass it along without dropping it. Some of the pieces were REALLY tricky -- you'd have to spin it over while the golf ball was inside of yours or it would drop. In any case, it took a lot of practice to finally get it through without dropping it:

Sometimes you just get a strikingly adorable picture you just have to share. That's what this is:

Honestly I don't think I've ever seen Gavin so relaxed:

Here are the babies enjoying some marshmallows. Okay, Austin is the only one who ate any, and he ate two! Gavin wasn't interested, and James isn't old enough so his were taken away (so he took the bag instead). This was at the end of the family movie where the girls were looking everywhere for the marshmallows. Different family members had various "conspiracy theories" to describe what really happened to the marshmallows, but it turns out that it was the babies all along:

And speaking of marshmallows, my mom brought up HUGE marshmallows! The one in Becca's hand is the normal "jumbo" size like with the babies above. The roasted one is one of the huge ones, and she knows how to roast them perfectly. She became the family roaster and made one for anyone who asked. Too bad there's not a scholarship for that!

We also roasted Starburst for the first time (well, Becca had done it before but the rest of us hadn't), and they were definitely YUMMY!

We also did a ropes course that was crazy scary, but I'll post about that later. For now dream of perfectly roasted marshmallows ...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Stamping and Bobcat

One of the best things about being 8 years old for a little boy is that he gets to participate in cub scouts! My boys love it, and Zachary is one of 16 or 17 Wolves in his den. Yes, that's a lot of wolves!

Anyway, he has been so excited to get going and earned his Bobcat as quickly as possible:

Our pack also does a cool thing where they "stamp" the boys into the pack on their first pack night. Zachary has been with us to pack nights for nearly two years now, so he knew what was coming, but some boys get scared when they're turned around and everyone starts yelling to watch out (not knowing it's just chalk they'll get on their backs). It's a tradition that we love:
Zachary brings me his book several times each week to see what we can work on. I did have to tell him he was no longer allowed to wake me up at 6:30 to discuss what he can do for scouts! :) He is so excited about scouting that there will be no stopping this boy. Way to go, Zach!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Catching up

I soooo love summer break! We finished school on Thursday, and it was crazy those last few weeks. Seriously, I wonder where May went. Today is Shayla's 5th birthday, but more on that later ...

First we'll start with Shayla's pre-school graduation. She was SO excited! She put on her class shirt, a cute skirt and we took pictures!

I had told the girls we'd have pink cupcakes for graduation, and then when I went to make them (at 9 p.m. the night before) I found I didn't have any paper liners. Yikes! I called several neighbors, who either weren't home or didn't have any themselves. One neighbor called me back at about 10 p.m. to say she had some, and we arranged to get them the next morning. However, the next morning I woke up with a stroke of brilliance (inspiration? :). Why not bake them in ice-cream cones? Especially because I have colored, cute cones! So that's what I did:

The girls loved them and I was able to get them done very early in the morning. Phew!

We had only one mom (besides myself) to the graduation, so the clapping wasn't much. I guess that happens when you only have a few kids. However, Shayla was totally excited anyway:

Becca finished up her art classes and is having lots of fun with her new-found talent. This is a self-portrait she did a while ago that I hadn't yet taken a picture of. Or did I? Mommy brain is eating my memory! Anyway, I think it's the best she's done (although she has an adorable on of Austin she's working on), so here it is:

And last weekend when we had a break in the rain we finally mowed the lawn. Paul decided it was time for Tyler to learn how, so he taught him. He left him to grab the weed eater out of the garage, and Tyler had gone crazy all over the lawn. I thought it was funny. Paul re-instructed him about how nice straight lines are:

He really was proud of himself for doing it, but he pointed out that he didn't want it for his chore. Mind you, once we get a riding mower (which we hope will be our next mower) I think everyone will volunteer to mow the lawn. :)