Year End Review

We traveled.

We went to Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon, Goblin Valley, Spiral Jetty, Bryce Canyon, Lava Hot Springs, along with more hikes, camping, and adventures closer to home including hosting a family campout.

We worked.

We grew a garden, raised a baby. We helped my sister build her house, and planted flower in our front garden, and finally got a round to fixing a few things in the house. Joe continued to work, Liz continued her graduate school.

We grew.

Curtis was baptized. The kids did swimming, basketball, football and baseball. We survived lockdowns, quarantines, and tons of canceled activities. We all got used to wearing masks anywhere.

This is Winter

The snow makes winter better. It’s more beautiful, there are fun things to do in the snow. I love seeing the world covered in white.

We made gingerbread houses. We tried using pop-tarts this year, and it was fun. Curtis made a mine and had the most backstory to his. Henry’s was supposed to be ruins. And the rest of ours was more normal.

Henry had a birthday! We didn’t plan much, but had a great impromptu party with neighbor kids, pizza, and carrot cake.

Finally, we finished up fall basketball. When we couldn’t find a comp team for Peter, we made our own and I ended up coaching. I’m way underqualified, but I think we all learned a lot and had fun a time anyways. Even when we only won one game.

Christmas

We had a great Christmas. I didn’t buy a ton, just what the kids asked for. (And they actually didn’t ask for much.) It was a quite day with the family, and it was perfect that way. Earlier that week, we delivered neighbor presents and I loved seeing the kids fight over who was going to deliver them. We went on a little trip afterwards to Pocatello and Lava Hot Springs.

Christmas Card

My sister took some awesome family pictures. And if I was somebody else, I would print them out on letter sized cards with a “Merry Christmas” banner on them and mail them to all my friends. See how long it took to even write a sentence about that? I have yet to mail Christmas card to anyone other than my grandmother, and that trend will continue.

But I still have awesome family pictures, and sharing digitally is easy. I just upload and publish. And I don’t have to pick a favorite or try to make a collage that looks good.

Catching Up

I wanted to get Thanksgiving and Halloween pictures up before Christmas, and return to more regular posting on the blog.

School this semester has kept me stressed out and busy. This semester hasn’t been the most amount of work, but it has been the most amount of stress. I had a class that I struggled with. It was a required class, but about a subject I didn’t care about. The expectations in the class were not clear, and we worked on a massive group project for most of the semester. For me, it was the worst kind of class I could have taken. But I’m nearly done with it, and I learned a lot even if it wasn’t the type of learning I expected.

Anyway, I am grateful for a cute family that supports and loves me. We have fun. Here’s a collection of photos from my phone that I don’t think I’ve posted. It includes Halloween, which we spent home on quarantine. Luckily, I hadn’t yet bought costumes, so we just had fun with things around the house. We trick-or-treated around the house, and had some neighbors that brought us extra candy.

Thanksgiving is also in there. We went up and spent the day with just my sister, and it was fun. Also there is a random picture of a huge binder. That is the result of years of being the music leader for children at church. My role at church has changed (I’m now doing activities with the boys), and I can eventually pass off this binder to someone else. (Covid means I’ll probably hang on for it for awhile yet.)

Gratitude

I’ve been busy. School has been a challenge. My husband tested positive for Covid at work, and we spent two weeks at home. (We also might have gone on a few walks far away from people…You have to maintain your sanity.) There were some symptoms, but all of us have had colds that were worse. It was entirely uneventful.

We were doing basketball but then they stopped that for a few weeks. Covid makes everything unpredictable. My sister wanted to come visit, but then there was a weird directive from the government that said that wasn’t okay. Instead we met up at a children’s museum, which was okay. I don’t think all the protocols make sense.

Today, I convinced the boys to go hiking with me. We’ve lived here for a long time (this is the house that Joe has lived in the longest), but have yet to hike the B. It’s a steep hike for the first part, and we all struggled. I though we might be unable to convince Henry. But we all made it.

I’m grateful that in spite of this life that has turned entirely unpredictable, I am surrounded by my boys that I love. It is so fun to see them growing up and learning to work and try hard. One day they wanted to buy a video game, and so they spent an afternoon and morning doing chores for me. That was awesome.

Fall Break

We went down south for the kid’s fall break and visited a few spots we had yet to visit. It was a quick trip, we had time to do one hike at each spot, but it was enough. After all, the kids aren’t big hikers and visitor’s centers are closed.

First up was Bryce Canyon:

After spending the night in Kanab we drove out to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Our final spot was the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. This was a favorite of the kids. Even Zack was crawling up and down the dunes.

Hiking Ogden Waterfall Canyon

When my kids were younger, we went hiking more. Sometimes I’m amazed at how far we went with how young our kids are.

For example, we did this hike five years ago when our kids were a baby, three and five. This time we did it when they were fiver years older, and add another baby. And it was challenging now, and I’m not sure how we did it back then. I think I was in better shape and we carried two of them for at least part of the way, and this time we tried to get all three up without help. Because you can’t easily carry people who aren’t toddlers and babies.

Anyway, the children (especially the oldest) start to complain a lot about hiking. I decided I didn’t want my kids to hate hiking, so we cut back a lot. We did shorter hikes with bigger rewards and not as frequently.

But also, the children are old enough to hike now, and it’s my favorite things, so sometimes we do attempt longer hikes. Even if they almost quit five minutes before we got to the waterfall. I usually promise treats afterwards and try be patient and we make it.

It was a rainy day, but not cold. Perfect weather. Except it started to pour right before we made it to the waterfall, it was pouring when we got there, and then stopped after we were headed back. So I did not grab great pictures, but here’s a few.