Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Amazing Race

We were invited to participate on a team for a local amazing race. The theme for the race was sitcoms. We were assigned "That 70's Show". We made matching shirts that said "We're All Alright" on the front and "Hello Wisconsin" on the back. Our team had three couples - Conner and Jodie Huffaker, Loren and Danielle Noel, and us. On May 19th we met at the starting point, received our instructions and clues and we were on our way. Many of the other teams were more experienced with this race and had strategies and skills. We were just there to have fun and we had a ton of fun. Our goal was to not come in last place. We were solidly in the middle of the pack - not bad for our first try.
 Here are some of the other teams:
 Home Improvement
 Fresh Prince of Bel Air
The A-Team
 We had to drive and walk/run through the city of Idaho Falls in search of items to collect, actions/tasks to complete, and things to take pictures of.
 like a pizza box
 or our reflection in something other than a mirror
 Jeremy and Jodie had to get into a stranger's vehicle and take a picture
 We needed a shot of at least six feet in the air - Good think everyone else jumped higher since my feet went straight to the ground
 Sitting the in the grass with a stranger
 standing next to a stranger while they talk on the phone
political bumper sticker photo
 We had to run with someone - not sure if this counted since the runner is across the street from Jeremy
 An Idaho Falls landmark
 We had to search the Sinclair stations in town for a clue hidden on one of the dinosaurs.
We laughed, got car sick, played on playground equipment, talked to a lot of strangers, solved a few puzzles, and had the best time! We are trying to figure out how to do a mutual activity like this. We think the youth would love it - and we could include service and random acts of kindness for them to do. We can't wait for next year. We're thinking about our team members and strategies already! This was one of the best dates we've ever been on.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

May 2018

May the Fourth be with you! Annie's school told all the students they could dress up for Star Wars day on May 4th. Annie wanted to be Princess Leia.  At Daddy's office a coworker brought in an amazing Darth Vader cake. Star Wars love is strong in our area.
The girls had their final clogging recital on May 6th. Puna and Papa drove all the way from Washington to see it. The girls did a good job. It meant a lot to the kids to have grandparents there to watch them. Puna broke her front teeth right before the show started. Papa tried to glue it back together. We were worried they wouldn't make it in time to see the kids dance.
The girls have both grown as dancers and performers this year. It is fun to recognize their progress and see them so dedicated to something they love.
The boys and the grandparents were tired and left the show early after the girls' final dances. The girls wanted to stay for the final bows. The only thing on our mind after the recital was ice cream! It felt so good to come home, wash off the stage makeup, and dive into some cold ice cream.
The next morning, Puna, Papa, and Mommy met our local dentist at his office so Papa could do a better repair on Puna's teeth. Hopefully it will last for a while.
Tommy loved his year in preschool. They had a fun pajamas and stuffed animals day with breakfast treats for snacks. The kids made pretend animal food with play dough.
Here is Tommy with a few school friends threading beads and making patterns.
And the whole class on Easter singing silly songs with their cute Easter masks. As the school year started to wind down, Tommy's teacher shared a lot of pictures with us from their school activities. Mrs. Stirling has been such a wonderful teacher - first to Annie and this year for Tommy. She and her family are doing a humanitarian trip to Ecuador for 2 or 3 years. We are so sad she won't be here to teach Joey. But we are excited to hear about all their experiences in Ecuador.
The boys have been in their Sound Beginnings music class for two years now. They have learned so much. Tommy has grown in confidence and musical ability. Their teacher did an end of the year recital on the stage at a local elementary school. The boys were a little shy about being up there. Joey picked his nose half the time.
All the Sound Beginnings classmates
In the picture below they are signing the solfege scale signs - thankfully Joey stopped picking his now so he could do the hand signs.
See Joey's big smile? This was his favorite song about farm animals. We all know the song well and sing it when we're in a silly mood. Ask Joey about how the rooster goes "cock-a-doodle-doo-doodle-doo-doodle-doo". He will sing you the whole song.
The boys had fun doing movement to music with instruments and props. This year we danced to "Anitra's Dance" by Edvard Grieg. Joey was a mouse with a little rattle to shake and Tommy was a bird with scarves for wings.
I thought the boys would be too shy to dance on the stage, but they really put themselves out there and had a wonderful time. Joey had no problem taking center stage. Now that class is over, Joey asks me when we can go back to Miss Michelle's house. It's going to be a long summer of missing his music teacher.

I love this picture of Pirate Joe all tuckered out. I can't believe he fell asleep on his stomach with a huge skull and crossbones belt buckle pushing on his tummy and a sword jammed under his arm.  We recently found a book at the library called Dirty Joe the Pirate. It is all about a pirate named Dirty Joe who sails the seas in search of smelly socks until one day when they encounter Dirty Joe's sister. She is a pirate named Stinky Annie. Stinky Annie is a ruthless pirate who steals underwear on the high seas. They have a scuffle and the moral of the story is: even if you're a pirate, as long as you have a big sister you will always have to do what she says. We laugh every time we read the book. I think we will order it for Joey's birthday.
After a great year of dancing, we were ready for national competition at Lagoon. To be honest, one reason the girls love clogging is the competition at Lagoon. They love spending the day together, riding rides, and dancing. This year we tried to be more prepared for weather, but the pounding rain was a force beyond all preparation.
 Bless Grampy for riding so many rides with Joey!
The boys wanted to ride everything. Even in the rain. But once their shoes were soaked through, the fun was over. Joey and Tommy were crying and soaking wet. Grammy and Grampy took them to the van, turned on the heaters, changed them into warm and dry clothes, and let the boys rest for a while.
Once we were rested, dry, and fed, we were ready to party! It is hard to stay together with kids who want to ride different things. So we would split up and come together when we could - or when one of the parents got sick after riding too many exciting things with the girls.

Just around dinnertime, the sun finally came out for good and we had a glorious two hours of fun. We rode the same roller coaster four times in a row because there was no line. It was so fun to jump off the ride and giggle together as we ran to the ride entrance again. I think our girls are starting to love roller coasters.
Joey got sick for the first time on a ride. He never threw up, but he was not feeling well for quite a while after his pirate ship experience. He begged Mommy to ride it with him - because....Pirates! But after rocking back and forth a few times, he rested his head on the handle bar in front of us and started breathing deeply. He didn't want to ride anything for a little while after that.
If you look closely you can see the girls on the swings. Lily has on a purple hoodie and Annie is in all black. We let them ride this one without any of us. Mommy and Daddy are getting too old to go on a lot of spinning rides.
Dinner was not that great and we were hungry again, so Daddy agreed to treat everyone to ice cream. Annie got a pineapple whip - so delicious! Maybe next time we will just go straight to ice cream rather than waste time on carnival hamburgers. Some people next to us got amazing looking nachos and enchiladas. If we go next year, we will probably give those a try.
The girls rode The Bat roller coaster three times in a row while Dad took the boys on some kiddie rides.
The sun started going down and the temperatures dropped too. The girls wanted to ride a water ride, thinking they could avoid getting sprayed. They were wrong! It was so fun to watch them get soaked. They were good sports about it. See them in the dark blue shark?
Before going home we wanted to do one ride together. We settled on the ferris wheel. We got stopped at the very top for a long time.
Joey was just a bit nervous. It was good to see he has some sense of danger.
Here he is holding Daddy's fingers and Mommy's fingers. He had us in a death grip. I was losing circulation!
We spent Mother's Day with Grammy and Grampy. It was a wonderful Sunday together. We were having fun visiting with Jake and his family and totally forgot to take any pictures. We took a walk in the afternoon. Jeremy and Tommy climbed up to the top of a hill and took a picture of Grammy and Grampy's neighborhood. If you zoom in, you can see the girls with Mommy and Grammy walking on the sidewalk.

We came home Sunday night and Mommy got to open her shade tent. I have been wanting one for soccer season. We are already using it a lot on the ward.
Mommy's friend Jodie won a gift certificate for free freezer meals. She asked a couple of us to come along and help. It was a great night out with friends and now we have another freezer full of meals for the next month.
We wrapped up dance season with class pictures. They haven't arrived yet, but we snapped these on our own. Lily had a difficult try-out for advancing to the next level. She didn't exactly make it. She will be participating on trial at the intermediate level at two camps this summer. If she can keep up, then she will get to advance. She is really motivated to move up because she doesn't want to be in the same class as Annie.
Tommy had a fun preschool graduation. Daddy couldn't make it due to work conflicts. Tommy was excited to sing his songs and show Mommy everything in his classroom.
Joey wanted a graduation cap SO BADLY! He cried and fussed through the whole ceremony because he wanted a hat.
Tommy did a great job singing. He knew all the words and actions and he actually sang.
He's officially ready for kindergarten and he has the diploma to prove it.
Here's his whole class. We will miss these cute kids and Mrs. Stirling.
After the ceremony we got to enjoy pony rides, treats, and play time.
Joey loved the ponies and he finally got to wear one of the graduation hats. Happy boy!
We were invited to open gym with our friends. It has been so long since we visited the gymnastics center. We had almost the whole gym to ourselves.
Moments like this make me so glad to be a stay at home mom. We loved playing together. 
School ended for the girls. It was strange this year to not be involved with field day or inflatables day. Luckily I got to join in on Annie's field trip and Lily's arts and crafts day.  The girls were so happy towrap up school and begin summer vacation. Grammy and Grampy and Puna and Papa came to visit us for Memorial Day Weekend - but not at the same time. We enjoyed seeing all of our grandparents.

We made our annual trip to Bear World with the Wanners. We squished all four kids in the back seat to save on entrance fees. They had a pretty good time squeezed in together.
Look at our little cubs!
Almost impossible to get a good picture with all four kids. Joey is such a ham!
The kids liked the petting zoo. The deer were so friendly and came right up to us.
Tommy needed some convincing to get close, but he eventually did it.
After seeing the wildlife and petting the farm animals, it was time to try all the rides!
The weather was perfect. The kids got a few turns on everything. Joey liked waving to the girls while they rode the roller coaster.
And the girls had fun waving back.
We even got Papa on some of the rides.
We decided to drive through and see the bears again. We saw so many. It was a wonderful day in the park.
We threw our annual neighborhood BBQ on Memorial Day. We had 85 people come this year. To make it a little more fun we rented an inflatable slide. Money well spent. It was a hit.
It was a long and fun day with our neighbors and family. We were worn out when everyone went home. The party ended early due to a storm blowing in, and we were a little relieved. It felt so good to go to sleep that night!

Mommy and all the kids tagged along with Annie's class for their zoo field trip. Lily didn't want to go to her inflatables day at school because she had a scary fall off the trampoline the day before. We were happy to have her join us.
Annie took her little zoo assignment so seriously. She diligently searched out all the answers and filled out every little question and box.
Joey let Lily use the leash....for about two minutes.
We got to touch a lion pelt and learn about the lions in our zoo. They are a family of a mother and three cubs. The cubs will soon be sent to different zoos because our exhibit is too small for four full grown cats.
We also saw a white peacock. It was so beautiful.
Tommy and the river otters had a good time together. One otter kept swimming right to Tommy and then would do flips and rub his tummy on the glass next to Tommy's hand. We played with that little guy for a few minutes. Tommy was finished playing with the otter before the otter was done playing with Tommy.
We visited the flamingo exhibit last and then made our way to the park for lunch and play time.
And just like that, school was over. The girls both earned straight A's and have gained so much confidence with their Spanish speaking. Tommy is ready for riding the school bus and going to real school. Joey is happy to have everyone home all day long. Here's to summer 2018!