Monday, February 23, 2015

37 in the house

This guy really is amazing. He is so dedicated to serving others, working hard at his career, making his family laugh, spoiling his wife (nice, since that's me;), keeping himself physically fit, being accountable to a higher power, and knowing when to put everything else aside and kick back for a break! 

Luckily I get to share the crazy ups and downs of life with him! Happy birthday, Mr. 37!! 

The girls of the house;)

G-ma love.

Birthday treats, yum:)

Movie tickets--this boy loves himself a good movie!

Friday, February 13, 2015

dad & porter conference trip

Okay, so we are kinda a religious family:-). Not that this is a surprise to anyone. We are Mormons (officially members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--long name, I know!!), and the center/headquarters for the Mormon church is in Salt Lake City, UT. Utah is also where a lot of our family lives and where Kevin and I attended college (BYU) and met/married. 

Long story short, Utah has a lot of meaning for us!

That said, we started a tradition when Porter turned 12 that each of the kids would get to go on a special trip (the boys with K and Mae with me) to Utah for that special birthday (in our church 12 is when they transition from "Primary"--kids group--to "Young Men"/"Young Women"--youth group). The plan would be to visit Temple Square,  attend at least one session of General Conference (where we hear from our church leaders), maybe visit BYU campus, and of course hang out with family!!

So here is Porter & K's trip from the first weekend in October 2013.

Entrance to Temple Square

SLC Temple

Christus in the Visitors Center

Bronze statue of Joseph Smith (& I believe Hyrum Smith)

Another Statue of Joseph Smith

Model of the SLC temple

Hmm. Not entirely sure, but I'm guessing Joseph Smith again;)

Bowling at BYU

Apparently Kevin got a good score

Porter stuffing himself at Tucanos Brazilian Grill

Attending general conference

Night view of Temple Square

Thursday, February 12, 2015

almost a teen

So, we currently do have a teenager in the house (remember, I'm super behind, so Porter is now 13). but this post shows the day--a year-and-a-half ago--when we celebrated the big event. 

I can't believe how fast my "little boy" has grown up. More than anything, it just reminds me what babies K & I were when we had him; that, and how quickly he'll be an adult and gone from our home. Whaa:(! 

I'm not going to spend much time on this post, since I already need to log his 13th birthday as well, but I promise to take a bit more time in that one to describe my amazing little/big guy!! 

I'm sure it could change soon, but Porter has definitely been a family/home kid. I can't remember the last time he chose to have a friend party instead of just doing something together as a family. 

We are so happy to be parents! And so grateful for our kids.

 Love our grandma's too (and grandpa's)!

They really are amazing!

Another grandma shot:).

Goofy guy.

Pretty happy to be getting a laptop!

school pics 2013

Generally speaking 2013 was not our best year for school pictures. Although, if our goal was "quirky-ish", then I guess it was our best year:-). Regardless, I love these awesome kiddos and can't believe how fast each school year comes and goes.

 B-1st Grade

J-5th grade

M-3rd Grade

 P-6th Grade 

So glad these guys are mine!!

boys trip--Mildred Lakes 2013

I've realized I can no longer call this the Man Hike. Our boys (and their cousins) are certainly on their way to becoming men, and no doubt will be amazing men someday, but I don't think the title fits quite yet. Family High Adventure is probably more appropriate I guess.

To help make sure I did a suitable job with this very important post, Kevin asked the guys to send notes of their experience. I've tried to piece it all together (and in quick fashion), and here's what I've come up with ...

(note: "Ryan" is Ryan Gee, and "RG" is Ryan Gardner)

Day One: Hiking In
Hour into hike Ken (Papa D) got groin cramps! Ugh, no fun.
Ryan stayed behind with him while the rest of the group proceeded to Huckleberry Creek.
While the group ate lunch at the creek, Kevin went back and discovered that Ken could not go on. Came back with Ryan.

All the boys were unbelievable, practically running uphill on the hardest part of the mountain trek even with heavy packs!! 
Pretty much everyone got stung by bees:). 
After 9 total hours of Kevin telling everyone "we're almost there" and "just around the corner", the group finally arrived!
Unbelievable view from tents and hammocks. 
The lake was like a perfect mirror reflecting the landscape surroundings.

Day Two: Fishing!
Day two was a day by the lake, mostly fishing.
Fishing was great and the boys loved it too--although, some seemed to enjoy the casting more than the actual fishing;).
The float tubes were fun and handy (waders, fins, and all).
The weather was so GOOD (couldn't ask for better) and when the boys weren't fishing they were swimming in the cold cold water or shooting pebbles into the water with a sling shot.

Ended up with 5 big fish to enjoy for a late lunch, which everyone thought was pretty awesome. Starting a fire with wet wood was a little tricky (in fact, won't say how the fire was finally started since what happens at Mildred stays at Mildred!).
Never seen kids so hungry.
Once the fish were cooked they were like bears feasting on those fish.
Nothing was left!
Some would literally steal the fish right off your fork as you were lifting it into your mouth!
Finished the meal with hot chocolate. Nice!

Day Three: "Mini" Hike
Kevin, RG, and most of the boys decided to hike around the lake.
Easy at first, but turned out to be really hard after about half way.
Had to crawl over/under/through a whole section of forest that was wiped out by a huge landslide!! Learned what it was to be real men.
Brooks got kicked in the face and then fell into a wasp nest (getting a sting on the lip).
RG got stung 5 times!
Jake fell back on a stick and cut his butt!
Crazy James hiked the whole way in flip flops.
The boys found a huge wood raft and McDonald's flag which they thought was kinda cool.
The hike was mentally tough on everyone (kids were crying and frustrated part of the time)
10 minutes after returning to camp, they all loved the whole thing--or at least the memory of it;).

Later that day everyone played Forest Putt Putt Golf--complete with a hole-in-one from Kevin.
Enjoyed a sling shot competition, won by Brooks--the youngest of the group!
Everyone enjoyed more hot chocolate (kinda a staple while out camping, especially in the cool NW).
Spent the late evening (after the sunset) star-gazing out on the rocks with pillows.
Pondered God’s vast creations and all the infinite worlds!
Uncle RG used his awesome green laser pointer to hone in on specific stars and constellations.
It was awesome!

Day Four: Hiking Out!
Rained all night--thought it was going to be a bad exit.
Porter Dr. did a polar bear dip (butt naked) to retrieve a package of bacon package.
Learned the hard way to "leave no trace behind". Ha!
All cheered him on.
He swam like an Olympic swimmer (ironic considering we were in the Olympic Mtn. Range;).
4 hour hike out from Lake Mildred!
Didn't fuel properly at the beginning with a good breakfast.
Some of the boys were hungry and fatigued.
Tested mental endurance AGAIN!
Grew hair on our chests…and maybe a little on our backs;).
Boys did incredibly well, especially considering how hard this hike was from beginning to end!

Lessons Learned:
When the going gets tough the tough gets going
Don't let jake get HUNGRY!
Fuel properly as you are burning a lot of energy even downhill
Hard work pays off...totally worth every step!
The farther you go in enduring the journey, the more reward at the end.  We could have stopped at the first lake, like most hikers, and completely missed the views and spectacular campsites just over the hill at the next lake. So, don’t quit too early…just endure a bit longer!
Bring more 5 hour energy;)
We love our boys and the fact they can do hard things
Being with the boys builds lasting relationships and memories
It's good to get away from the distractions of video games & TV
Family relationships are wonderful, because they’re low maintenance but high energy/output.

Spiritual Lessons Learned:
Only real protection is living righteously
Prayers get answered--everything from the weather, flight home, and the whole LM Experience!
Bees are like satan: sometimes you can't see them and they sneak up on you.
Hard to stay the course when satan is tempting us.
Don't stop too early ... The reward is better if you stay the course and endure to the end! 
God has created some amazing places/things!
Fish rising are like heaven's tender mercies: they just feel good...and taste good too!
You see Gods hand in the perfection of nature
Patience is a Virtue … and pays off!We are meant to do hard things
Life can be hard be we can overcome
With God, nothing is impossible!