Tuesday, April 30, 2013

8 is GREAT!

This guy turned 8 last week! So much happens when you are 8 - you get baptized, become a Cub Scout, you get more chores and responsibility at home...ok, so those latter ones he probably won't fully appreciate, but 8 still is pretty great. WOW! Seriously, I can't believe I have an 8 year old!

This was his 8th birthday picture. I used it on his baptism invitations. Despite needing a haircut, I think he looks so handsome! We are so blessed to have him in our family. Some things I am loving about him lately:

1. He is a sweet big brother to Berlin and he really watches out for her. He always has her back. He writes cute little notes to her and leaves them in her room or one her door. I intercepted one and I cried when I read it. It was that sweet. I love when I hear him teaching Berlin to play the piano or how to build her lego friends sets, or helps her with some of the harder words in the books she reads. For the most part he is very patient with her and gives her lots of encouragement.

2. He is a jokester with a silly sense of humor and loves to act crazy. He loves to make up jokes and he is finally getting the punchlines right.

3. I love his laugh and his smile. It brightens my day.

4. He is still sensitive and wears his emotions on his sleeve. He really hates seeing other people sad or hurting.

5. Finley is very perceptive and inquisitive. He picks up on things (sometimes too many things) and loves to ask questions.

6. This past year he discovered that he enjoys boogie boarding, sushi, playing the piano, hiking, basketball and exercising with my me to my workout DVD's (especially my slide-board).

7. He has a wonderful imagination. The stories he writes at school are hilarious and extremely detailed. I think his love of reading helps fuel this talent.

8. He is an amazing lego builder and can do the big, detailed, sets all by himself. After a few days he deconstructs them and starts over with his own design.

9. I love his sense of self. He has this quiet confidence that amazes me. I wish I was as confident in myself as he is. He truly marches to the beat of his own drum, in a good way. I hope that this will be a blessing to him as he gets older, when peer pressure sets in.

10. More than anything I love that he still likes to snuggle with me. He loves to snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie, read a book, or just talk. I love this one-on-one time during the day.

11. Finley has been a great helper with Millie, the little baby that I have watched these past few months. He loves to hold her, play with her, help feed her, and make her laugh. Whenever we see her at church or other places he perks up and says, "Look, mom, Millie!" He ADORES her and it is so cute to see.

His birthday fell on a school day and he really wanted Ryan and I to bring lunch to him at school. His request: Arby's. So, we did just that and as we walked into the lunchroom we spotted him at the table wearing a paper crown, waving wildly at us, sporting the biggest grin ever. It was awesome. Here are some pics from his actual birthday celebration later that night with presents and rootbeer floats. 

We put his candles into a mini key-lime pie since he requested root-beer floats instead of a cake. But you HAVE to have candles and they weren't happening in the root beer float so I had these on hand as backup.

AND ... We still have his friend party to execute in May along with his bday dinner (he has asked for SUSHI!) this week. It's literally the Birthday that never ends!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Goblin Valley 2013

This year we kicked off our Spring Break by going to Goblin Valley with Ryan's family. His step-sister Shannon organized the whole thing and we are so glad they invited us. It was awesome and we can't wait to go again!

The drive was longer than we expected, mostly because we have a little girl with a small bladder = lots of potty breaks. As we were almost at the campground entrance, the mini van in front of us spun out of control and off the road. Ryan was worried they rolled their car, but luckily they were just turned around and the front tires were stuck in the soft dirt. Fortunately, another car stopped and they had a shovel and tow ropes to get the car out of the side ditch. Ryan spent a good 40 minutes helping dig them out before we were on our way again. 

Here's Ryan with his butt in the air digging out the tires :)

Goblin Valley State Park is awesome. This was my first time there, Ryan's second (he went back in the day when he was a scout). The kids ran wild with their cousins while we all set up tents and got dinner going. I was nervous seeing some of the rocks they were scaling, but it really was the perfect place for  my physically timid kids to explore and try something new. By the end of the trip they had no fear. 


The weather was fabulous - 70 degrees! At night, it was chilly, but we had warm bags so we were fine. The next day we took the kids to the Valley of Goblins where they had an Easter hunt. After the hunt we let them hike and explore for a couple hours before heading back to the campsite for lunch.




After lunch we loaded up our cars to go home, but on our way out we stopped at a nearby slot canyon for an afternoon hike. It's actually an 8 mile loop, but we just hiked the Little Wild Horse leg of the loop. This means we hiked about 2 miles in and once we were out of the slot canyon into the open area, we turned around and hiked back out. Then it was time to come home.

The entire weekend this little gal (above) had that Camelbak hose in her mouth the entire time. No wonder she had to pee like crazy all day long.

Ryan definitely got his workout on this hike. He kept up with the adventurous boys at the front, then would double back to help others down steep parts of the trail. Then get back up to the front with the older kids so they wouldn't be without an adult in case something happened.



It was awesome and we really enjoyed our time with Ryan's family. I think this is definitely going to be on our "to-do" list for next year.