Sunday, October 17, 2010

Halloween Party Extraordinaire

My parents hosted a Halloween party this week, and we all had a "spook-tacular" time! The food was fun and creepy (some food items-- like Dad's "witch fingers"-- were so disgusting-looking that most of us couldn't bring ourselves to eat them) and almost everyone was sporting a costume of some kind.

Brigham borrowed a big pink bunny costume that most found very becoming but that Ty found terrifying. Ty was a little disconcerted by all of the costumes, but that bunny costume pushed him over the edge. He got hysterical if we even went near Brigham. I struggled not to laugh as I comforted the poor little kid. Due to the bunny trauma, Ty refused to don his pumpkin costume. I guess that's something we should probably work on in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully post-traumatic shock wears off quickly in one-year-olds.

There were many fun games and activities including "Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin", "Musical Electric Chairs", a balloon stomp, a ping-pong ball blowing war, and various races. Benjamin also favored us by reading an original Halloween composition complete with illustrations. The evening ended with a pumpkin carving contest and cookie decorating. Living near family again is a lot of fun!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Family Fun

We are always looking for fun and inexpensive things to do as a family. A few weeks ago I suggested that we go to Kennecott mine, and boy was that a hit! With all of the tractors and dumptrucks, it was a little boy's personal paradise. I felt like a hero for suggesting it. This week's suggestion did not go over as well.

I saw an add for a witch display at Gardner Villiage, and I thought like it sounded like a fun and festive thing to go see, so we invited Brigham's parents, and off we went. Personally, I thought it was very cute and fun, but I practically had to drag my boys around from witch to witch, and only threats of dire punishments could cajole them into posing for pictures. And that only worked part of the time. Afterwards Brigham pointed out that the only other males there were under the age of two. Strangely, I think that's true. I certainly didn't get any hero's status this week, but I did get a few cute pictures.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Spotlight on Benjamin

Since I use this blog as a family journal of sorts, I thought I'd take a minute and spotlight each one of our kids (since I've stopped writing in their individual journals-- Ty was the death of the whole journaling thing). They are each so fun that I want to be able to remember their cute little antics at these stages forever.

Benjamin just turned seven at the beginning of the month, but he's been wearing size seven clothes for a long time now-- in fact, he's starting to grow out of them! It works out nicely though because although he is the youngest kid in his class, he's still one of the tallest.

Benjamin never ceases to amaze me. Since he was tiny, he's always been fully committed to the things he was interested in-- to the point of total obsession. Fortunately, now that he is older, he is able to be interested in more things at a time. The following are some of the things that float Benjamin's boat at the moment:

1. Sports. It doesn't seem to matter what the sport is, he wants to do it. And he's pretty good at them, too. Just yesterday his soccer coach suggested that we put him in a more competitive soccer league because he is clearly his team's superstar. He is also amazing when it comes to hitting baseballs. He can stand up by our house and hit balls clear across our yard and over the top of our neighbors' playhouse which is built on about 6 foot stilts. He certainly didn't get it from me!

2. Word games. Bookworm is still his favorite, and the kid has UNBELIEVABLE word skills. He can find long words while I'm still staring at the grid trying to get my bearings. He also likes to play Boggle with us and is pretty good.

3. Reading. Benjamin is a great reader and powered through probably close to one hundred books this summer. We just finished reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban together, and he loved it. I'm sure he'd already be done with the whole Harry Potter series by now if we let him have his way, but we only let him read one HP book with us each year.

4. Pets. Benjamin was infatuated with all of his friends' dogs and BEGGED to get one for his birthday, but thanks to a tip from my visiting teacher, he got a hamster instead. He is totally smitten with Chip (his hamster) and is trying to train him to come when called.

Benjamin is a wonderful kid who seems to be able to succeed at whatever he puts his mind to. We love him a lot and feel lucky to have him in our family!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Catch Up

This month has been a crazy one, and as soon as things get busy, the poor blog gets neglected. So this post is an attempt to record our exciting August events.

We finally got our group of high school friends together and had a wonderful evening with them. Two things amazed me: First-- everyone looks exactly the same as they did in high school (why am I the only one aging here?), and second-- it's amazing how many kids we have as a group! It was really fun to watch our kids playing with our friends' kids-- "The Gang Part II."

All summer I've been wanting to take our kids tent camping since I have so many fun camping memories, but with Jacob hating the great outdoors the way he does, I was nervous about it. We decided just to go up Little Cottonwood Canyon and give it a shot since it is so close to our house and would be easy to bail if we needed to. I spent all day packing up (I can NOT believe how much stuff is required for a simple overnight camping trip! It's no wonder we don't do it that often!), and when Brigham woke up we took off. Unfortunately, we missed the last camping site by about 20 minutes. After all the preparation the last thing I wanted to do was go home, so we decided to be brave and drive 1 1/2 hours to camp with my family at their mountain property. Jacob mostly wanted to hang out in Grandpa's Jeep or in the trailer, but it actually went surprisingly well! It was Ty's first camping trip (sad to say), and he had a great time. He LOVED Grandpa's "tractors" (ATVs).

Jacob's fifth birthday was a major August event as well. I still can't believe that my boy is 5! Jacob's birthay was one of those days when everything that can go wrong does. We were seven minutes late for our appointment to meet his teacher, so we had to reschedule. The balloons I bought for Jacob were not tied tightly enough to their holder, and they ended up on Walmart's ceiling. Brigham took Jacob to the raceway in West Valley to see some real race cars, and they finished practicing about 2 mintues after they arrived. We went to go swimming (one of his very favorite activities this summer!), but found that all the pools were closed. Jacob was a very good sport about everything and seemed to enjoy his day despite all that went wrong. Like always, he LOVED opening his presents (even more than the presents themselves), and we let him eat about four pieces of his Bookworm cake (he would have kept going, but I knew that we were nearing the point when we'd see all that cake once more). Aunt Cambrie arrived from CA with her girls that afternoon, so it was fun to have cousins for a birthday party!

After a summer that didn't feel nearly as eternal as the last one did (thanks to having family close by), Benjamin and Jacob headed off to school. Benjamin started second grade on the 23rd, and was happy not to have to go with a full set of baby teeth once again, having lost his first tooth about 5 days before. In ABQ he was one of only 4 boys in his class of 17, and now he is enjoying being one of 21 boys in a class of 26. He actually has 2 teachers who each teach for half of the week.

Jacob started school on the 30th. He is in a developmental kindergarten class that only has 6 kids with a teacher and 2 aides. So far it seems like he is enjoying it quite a bit!

Although we don't have pictures (I have a hard time managing a camera when my boys require full-time supervision), we also spent a weekend up at Bear Lake with the Dastrups. Unfortunately we arrived in unison with a storm/cold front, but we still had fun swimming in the heated pool, playing on the beach, and playing some tennis. Jacob started having asthma trouble which ended up cutting our trip a little short, but with the help of some breathing treatments and steroids, Jacob is doing much better.

Whew. We finally made it to September. It is only the 5th, but those few days have been eventful. Brigham's sister got married on Benjamin's birthday (much to his dismay since wearing dress clothes is just about the worst thing you could make him do), and she had her reception the night before ("I can't believe that I have to wear church clothes for three days in a row!" said Benjamin after church today.) Not only were Aunt Liz's wedding and luncheon on his birthday (both wonderful events), but the first BYU game of the season was, too! Benjamin was happy that the team gave him a victory for his birthay. He received many wonderful presents, but his favorite was the hamster that we gave him (instead of the dog he's been begging for). He named it Chip (short for Chipmunk since he thinks it looks like one), and he adores that little animal! Ty does, too. We all get a kick out of watching it roll around the house in its ball.

Here is Benjamin's football field cake which Jacob got to before he even saw it. Benjamin was shockingly good about it. He just laughed and said, "Jacob, you're a pest!" I learned that Jacob's wingspan is far more than I gave him credit for.

So that's about it! For any of you still reading, here are a couple of random cute pictures from August:

Ty figured out how to ride a scooter at 18 months old. The kid never stops going!

...except when he's sleeping. He loves chewing on Bear's tail and often falls asleep while doing it. Maybe that's why Bear went missing for a weekend this month... it was a long weekend!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Canyoneering Adventurers!

Four beginners. Seven beautiful, fast-flowing waterfalls. One crazy idea to rappel down them, and a guide loopy enough to take on the task. Add it all up and you get a day never to forget!

We went with my brother and his wife, and between the four of us we could still count all of the times we'd been rappelling on one hand. The canyoneering trip that we chose was for experienced rappellers (as we found out when we arrived), but our guide assured us that he could get us through in one piece if we still wanted to go. Of course we did!

Anyone watching a video of our experience might think that they were watching clips from "America's Funniest Videos": there was plenty of slipping on slimy rocks, crashing into the side of the canyon, going under the waterfalls, and general spasticity. Put that together with our ultra-attractive canyoneering attire (rain jackets over helmets and wet suits), and my guess is that we would have sent anyone with the slightest degree of experience into hysterics. Luckily we were the only ones in the whole canyon. Our guide might have been laughing, but the roaring of the waterfall drowned it out (he said the water was at the highest level he'd ever seen it thanks to the rain for several days beforehand-- it was also colder than normal. BRRRRRRRR!).

Despite our complete lack of canyoneering skills, it was an amazing experience! Our rappels took us through this beautiful slot canyon that would have been a pleasure just to see. Add the thrill of rappelling down gorgeous waterfalls, and it was an experience like no other!

The rest of our trip was spent hiking around in Arches National Park and enjoying the amazing beauty there. We went on a 7 mile hike on primitive trails that was fantastic. It felt so good to be back out in nature again! Our goal is to somehow convince Jacob that nature is way better than electronics. Wish us luck!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Good-Bye Smokey

Today we mourn the loss of one we count as a member of our family-- our dear Smokey. Smokey has been with us since the very foundation of our family, being the car that I purchased in college. It was my first car, and in the last 12 years we have formed a very special bond.

Smokey may have had a salvage title from being in a flood in St. George, but he always got us from point A to point B-- with only a few repairs being needed between the two. It was Smokey who wisked us away from our wedding reception and off into the sunset, and it was Smokey that Brigham drove into a cement barrier the day after. (I will miss seeing that dent every day.) It was Smokey who brought our first baby home from the hospital. It was Smokey who took Brigham to his first and last day of medical school, and his first and last day of residency. Although the Kelley Blue Book may have said (and I quote) "this car has no value", it's easy to see why to us, he was worth every repair.

Smokey was a very loyal car. Being the amazing machine that he was (a 1994 Ford Escort but with a Japanese engine as we found out during the excrutiating safety inspection in Maryland), he was stolen within a month of our move to Baltimore. We deeply mourned his loss even then, but only a week later, Smokey found his way home-- scarred and smelling like an ashtray.

Smokey has traversed the country a couple of times in his long life. He has sported Utah, Maryland, New Mexico, and Utah plates once again. We can take some measure of comfort in knowing that he expired in his home state.

Thank you, Smokey, for sharing our lives and being there most of the time when we needed you. You will be sorely missed.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Oh, Glorious Day!

Ty turned 18 months old yesterday-- a huge milestone in every LDS family. No longer am I condemned to walk the halls every Sunday with a restless toddler who can think of nothing greater in life than pushing the button on the water fountain and trying to slurp water off of the drain (I know-- so gross!).

As suspected, Ty had no problem with going to nursery. The minute he saw the cars and trucks he raced away without a backward glance. Brigham sat next to a man who'd spent the first hour in nursery, and after mentioning that our son was there, the man said, "Is your last name Dastrup? Oh, yes! Your son seems to know how cute he is and that he can get away with just about anything! He's a troublemaker!" Hmmm...