Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April Recap

Just jumping on to do a quick recap of what's been going on here during the last month.

We'll start with Easter, even though it was technically in March.  It was a little chilly (I HATE Easter egg hunt pictures with snow coats on, but when you live in Spokane...) We dyed eggs on Thursday night and Levi was SO excited.  "We do Eeser eggs when guys come home, mom?!"

Easter weekend had a track meet, a scout campout, 2 soccer games and women's conference, but we were able to squeeze in a egg hunt with the youngest 3.

We had a lovely Easter sacrament meeting and hosted the Daines for Easter dinner. I was very proud of my two gorgeous cakes and my table decor effort (something I generally don't like to do).

We spent half of Spring Break in portland (Ryan, Gabe and Jane stayed home).  My friend Jessica grew up there and her sweet family hosted us and showed us all the famous Portland places.  Food, mansions, bridges, shopping, waterfalls, we did it all in three days and it was so much fun!  

After we got home, we did our annual bike to Red Robin, hiking and Ryan continued his tradition of coming up with fun work projects for the kids to complete every morning.

Spring sports have been in full swing.

Emma: pole vault (PRd last week at 7 feet.  She enjoys it and works hard.)

Gabe: track (doing really well. the 2 mile is his jam.  He's one of the top three 2 milers in the district, with a PR of 9:46)

Jane: basketball, soccer and track (tried basketball for the first time... so love watching her try new stuff, loves her soccer team and coach, and is about to have her first meet on Thursday...high jump, long jump, 400 and mile)

Seth: soccer and running (he has some natural ability at both, and, as usual, is just always happy to be wherever!)
Faith: soccer (she's learning little by little to harness her natural speed and talent.  Loves having Ryan as her coach).
Levi: making things SUPER FUN for the mom that has to drag him to all of the above mentioned events.

It's beyond crazy to get everyone where they need to be and to watch them do their thing, but it's one of the parts of mothering I'm pretty good at and really enjoy.

Ryan had a business trip in San Jose CA last week and I joined him for the weekend before.  We left Emma with the kids and she did a great job, even with some pretty serious fevers and coughs.  We appreciate how capable and helpful she is.  We rented bikes and rode 20 miles around San Fransisco on Saturday and ate lots of yummy food. We did things we'd never done before (riding over the Golden Gate bridge and exploring Golden gate park) and it was the most magical day. On Sunday, we drove inland to go to church and have lunch with my dad and Genie.  On our way back in, we swung up the coast and drove down to Pigeon Point light house. It was so pretty and there was even a playful seal on the sand! On Monday, Ryan worked and I hiked with my oldest friend, Tammy, explored San Jose's rose garden and did a little shopping.  It was short, easy and so fun!

Levi is OBSESSED with Star Wars.  We have an old chess set and he plays Star Fars fighting with anyone who will join him ALL DAY LONG.  Ryan made him some cardboard light sabers and he used those for a while too.  It's mostly cute (though those dang toys are EVERYWHERE) to see him love something so much.

We also got news in February that he was probably no longer allergic to any nuts, and we've been slowly introducing them.  They wanted to hold off on peanuts until we did an In Office Peanut Challenge, where you hang out in the teeny doctor's office for 3 hours while they give increasing doses of peanuts and watch for a reaction.  I had to get pretty creative to keep him happy, but it was all worth it when he was declared Nut Allergy Free!

Jane ran for middle school secretary last week and lost.  She was so upbeat and prepared and confident about the whole thing.  Her speech was great and we were so proud of her bravery!  We were a little teary when we heard the bad news, but she talked it out, said she'd run again and celebrated her effort with some ice cream at our favorite restaurant.

We've had a warm warm spring and it's been wonderful.  Blossoms, flowers, hikes, bike rides, even swimming in the lake are not usually things we see and do this early in the year, but we've been taking advantage of it!

Monday, March 21, 2016

For my girls!~

I never got my Personal Progress as a Young Woman.  I was always active in church, but for some reason was not motivated to work hard on my Personal Progress.  For years, I've wondered if I should do it as an adult, but it always seemed like ALOT.  I had an experience a year and a half ago (talked about it here) where I felt like it was definitely time.  And it, of course, has been such a blessing. I finished all of it, completely last month.  No big fanfare, but I didn't need it because I'm proud of myself and got so much out of it.

Here are some reasons, I'm so glad I did it:

1. It helped me TOTALLY understand the program so that I can better help my girls work on theirs.  I know what types of goals you need, how long it takes, what works and what doesn't. I also am very aware of the accomplishment it is, and truly admire girls and women who spend the time to make this happen in their lives.

2.  It helped direct my personal scripture study, prayers and goal making over 18 months.  I'm kind of sad now that I'm done that I have to actually think through what I want to study or what I should work on!

3. It made me do things I wouldn't have done.  There is plenty in there that I was already doing, or needed to do a little more seriously (scriptures, mothering, church calling stuff), but there were things I would never have tried, if it hadn't been on goal list.  I worked hard on budgeting, I learned how to hem pants, I resurrected my blog, I spent 10 hours doing family history indexing, I made phone calls to a museum to find out how a mom might start working at a museum after her kids were in school, I didn't eat sugar for a month.  I think it's so important to get out of our comfort zone so I really tried to push myself to do the out-of-the-ordinary things.

4. I memorized The Living Christ during Christmas 2014 and read the Book Of Mormon in 5 weeks during Christmas 2015.  Those things helped me so much in feeling closer to Christ during that special time of the year.

5.  I loved the little goals.  The ones like "be extra nice to one family member for 3 weeks" or the "study repentance and teach a lesson about it".  Again, those are things I try to do, but I loved being focused.  I learned so much and grew ALOT while I did it.

6.  I love that I am an example for my kids about setting high goals and working a little at a time to achieve them.  It took me about 18 months working pretty constantly and I'm so happy that I can say: "I completed my Personal Progress!"

(Little side note:  this book/journal was brought to my attention right before Christmas last year and I got it for Jane.  IT HAS BEEN AWESOME.  She said yesterday "I'm so glad you got me this.  It makes doing Personal Progress so easy!"  She works on one goal a week every Sunday and should be done with all of her little goals by the end of this year and will spend next year working on the bigger value projects. I'd highly recommend it.  Click on the link if you want more info.)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Quick Quote

(Self portrait by The Lovable Child)

"Everyone loved me at fitness camp. 
It's like there's a sign on my back that says 'Seth: The Lovable Child'."

Friday, February 26, 2016

Texas Trip

We'd been planning on a 2016 Texas trip to see the 10 aunts and uncles, 4 grandparents and 18 cousins that live within 4 hours of Dallas. We had a hard time deciding on a time to visit because Texas in the summer is sucky weather and half of the people we visit have their busy season at work in the summer.  Spring break doesn't work for track stars, apparently (Gabe!) and so we'd thought about Thanksgiving.  I noticed in November that Southwest was having killer deals and when I looked at Dallas, I realized we could fly our entire family to and from for just under $1500.  The only catch was that we'd have to go in January, which meant pulling people from school for 6 days, but we are so glad we did.  The weather was so great and so needed, everyone had lots of time to hang out and we filled our day with pretty cool attractions.

We left out of Seattle because it was about $500 cheaper but it was dicey deciding whether to risk trying to get over the mountain passes on the west side of the state.  At the last minute we decided to leave the night before and stay at Ryan's aunt's house.  We woke up at 3:00am, loaded our crew into the car and made it onto our 5:50am flight.  I had been pretty nervous about the whole thing and felt so relieved to be done with that.  Levi was so good the whole time, even letting his dad take some pretty decent naps inflight.


We stayed with my mom the first few days.  We'd decided to buy the Dallas City Pass and think that was a good call.  We knew we'd want to do lots of sightseeing stuff and it really saved us money. The weather was 75 degrees and completely sunny.  After 3 straight weeks of gray, drizzly Spokane weather, we felt like we'd time traveled to June.  It was awesome.

We drove from the airport to downtown Dallas, ate lunch and hit our first spot: The 6th Floor Museum, which is about the assassination of JFK.  It's so well done.  The littler kids were slightly bored by the end, but our oldest really learned a lot.  Levi slept in his stroller so we felt pretty lucky.

We walked from there to the Reunion Tower.  (I feel like there are these types of places in every big city.) I probably wouldn't have done it if it wasn't included on the City Pass, but it was a beautiful night and we got to see the city as the sun was starting to set. Dinner was fabulous burgers where we met up with some of the Romney side of the family.

The next day was Sunday and we enjoyed Grandma Dorrie's super comfortable accommodations.  We went to church, tried to see the under construction, closed-on-Sunday Dallas temple (Ryan found my family's die-hard sightseeing efforts here pretty hilarious), and checked out Klyde Warren park built over a freeway in downtown Dallas.

Monday we spent the day at the Ft Worth zoo, one of the most highly rated zoos in the country.  Meridith, Zaundra, and Grandma Nut met us there, too and it was so fun to do the zoo with cousins.  The highlight was definitely the baby gorilla, though all of the exhibits and animals were incredible.  We ended up getting kicked out at 4pm (early winter closing) and headed down to the Ft Worth stockyards where uncle Bart (who works as a policeman in the area) was a fun tour guide.  We left that night for San Antonio, pulling in a little after midnight.

My brother Matt lives there and is the best host.  We had yummy food and his fabulous huge backyard to play football, do cookouts and explore.  One of my favorite parts was getting to go on a few runs with him...he made me go fast!  We checked out the Riverwalk and the Alamo (again) and visited beautiful Hemisfair Park.  The highlight of the day for me was probably lunch at Rudy's.  I dream of that place.  Matt is a big strategy-game player, so they ended both nights with some Dominion.

On San Antonio day2, we visited the Natural Bridge Caverns, which we LOVED.  We also got a groupon for the San Marcos spring glass bottom boats and had a pretty fun tour guide and loved enjoying the sunny day on the river.

We headed back to Dallas the next day, stopping downtown to do the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.  It wasn't quite as cool as some science museums we've been to, but the kids still enjoyed it.  Ryan's brothers Greg and Grant live 5 minutes from each other and so we divided the family between the two locations.  We were so excited that Brooke drove down from Oklahoma to spend the weekend with us!

We went on a nature walk with a million kids and spent the day at a fun nature preserve.  Ryan went on some bike rides with the guys and the teenagers scored some Mavericks tickets from uncle Greg.  On Saturday morning, we checked out the George Bush Presidential library and it's 9/11 section was really really good.  Ryan had organized a kickball game that we played despite trespassing signs and the worse weather we'd seen so far. Also, In-N-Out.  Twice.

On Sunday we got to watch the newest Romney cousin (Amelia May) get blessed and just hung out at houses eating and talking and watching the SuperBowl.

We were so sad to go home the next day.  It had been a pretty perfect vacation.  The flight went well, the stop at IKEA to replace Faith's broken bed and strap it too our heavy car went well, and the ride home frantically doing the homework everyone had sworn previously they'd finished went well.  (Insert eyeroll emoji here).  We arrived to a newly renovated kitchen, which was the best thing about coming home.

I love vacations because I love seeing new things, being with long lost family, taking a break, but most of all, I LOVE lots of uninterrupted time with our family all together.  It's a precious commodity around here and worth any amount of money and effort and planning to make it happen.