Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Farewell to Summer

Tomorrow morning, we will bid adieu to summer and dive into school once again.  This will be the first year that I have a child in school all day.  And Tyler will be doing preschool twice a week.  But still, it brings routine to our day.  (I'll post about our new school routine soon.)  I don't know why I resist the change so much.  I think we all long for a little more structure. 
But saying good-bye to summer is always bitter sweet.  This last weekend, we took our long awaited family vacation to Bear Lake.  We went last year and our boys have been talking about it ever since.  We stay at the KOA, which is, in my opinion, the most fun KOA ever.  There are so many activities for the kids, from the pool (which we had to ourselves much of the time), to the hay rides and train rides, mini golf, the jumping pillow (like a giant trampoline), and of course bike riding.  Plus, the lake is just across the road.  We met up with my family (3 out of the 4) and my boys just loved spending time with cousins. 

This is us on one of the tractor rides they do each night through the campground.
We visited Minnetonka Cave, which I have not been to in probably 15 years.  It was amazing!  The best part was carrying two kids up and down 888 stairs, while trying to calm Chad down because it was "too dark."  Once we got out of the cave, Chad admitted that he thought it was pretty cool. 

Just outside the entrance to the cave.  It was about 90 degrees that day, but
at the entrance and inside the cave is was just 40 degrees. 

These are just amazing!  And the vastness of the rooms was incredible!

The pictures do no justice.  This room was the size of a football field. 
We spent a few hours at the beach. The lake is really full this year, so it was harder to find a fun place to play.  And, Greyson was really tough at the beach.  (Heck, he's tough all the time lately.)  He liked the water for a bit, but then he wanted to be in the shade and he wanted food.  Maybe next year we'll spend a little more time at the lake.  For now, I reminded Chad and Tyler that our own sandbox makes a great "Bear Lake" when we put a little water in it.  They took me up on the offer the very night we got home. 

We had a lot of fun.  It's always hard to come back home after a great getaway. 

The school supplies have been purchased, and Chad insists that he is excited to start 1st grade.  He is most excited to have his very own desk.  Tyler can't wait for his friends to come to his preschool (that is until they want to play with his toys-then I'm sure he'll protest).  And Greyson, if only I can stretch out him taking 2 naps a day just a few months longer.  I'm fighting a loosing battle there. 

School, here we come! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Visit from Grandma and Grandpa Hall

We had a fun visit from Dave's parents this last week. They were headed to Nebraska where his mom is from and they stopped to stay with us for a few days on their way there and back. We always love their visits. The boys are so excited to have someone to "play"with. The truth is, Joan (Dave's mom) is incredibly creative! She always has these great ideas and brings with her fun projects or crafts to do with the boys. This time, she brought a darling book about a farm (because she grew up on a farm and was headed back to the farm for a visit).
 After grandpa read the book, the boys got to create a farm picture out of the sticky, foam cut-outs. They LOVED it! Then we drank chocolate milk (cause it comes from cows-well, at least the milk part does) and then later that night, we had Skinny "cow" ice cream sandwiches. There is always a theme. I could never think of that many things to go along with my theme.  Like I said, Joan is so creative.

On the way back through, they brought pictures of bears they had learned about while back in Nebraska. They shared the stories with the boys and then made bear paw cookies. The boys always remember these visits and the fun they have with Grandma and Grandpa Hall. The great part of having them come to our house is that there are no cousins to distract our boys from the grandparent time. When we go to visit them, our boys play non-stop with cousins and don't get the bonding with grandparents. It's so fun to have these visits. I'm sure grateful for wonderful parents on both sides. Dave and I are sure blessed.

Friday, August 19, 2011


I high school, I was a runner.  I ran track and I loved it.  Fast forward to now . . . until 6 months ago, I hadn't run a mile in the last 14 years.  Okay, that may be a bit of an overstatement.  I did remember running a bit in college, but I never got good at it and I never got to where I enjoyed it. 

Six months ago, at my Weight Watchers meeting, I was told about their 5-K challenge, where members meet on a certain day to do a 5-K.  Most members walk, which I knew would not be a "challenge" for me, and since it was supposed to be a "challenge," I decided I would run it.  I think what really motivated me was that we were each given a training schedule.  I had never thought about how to work up to running 3 miles at once.  I remember even once telling my husband that I bet I could run a 5-K with no training.  The next morning, I ran down to the church (10 houses away) and I realized that I was SO wrong!  This training schedule was just what I needed to help me break it down in to daily goals. 

Running has become a thing I do just for me.  At first, it was miserable.  It was still winter, and I found it very difficult to schedule in my running around my nursing baby and two other kids.  Plus, my hubby works two jobs, and that meant I had to be creative about getting my runs in.  It's funny to think back to those early days, and how I thought I'd never get any better.  I have found that running is a bit of an attitude, and if it is something you value, you will make the time for it.  I now get up and run before my hubby goes to work on most days.  (That may be a bit more challenging when school starts in a few weeks, but I'll cross that bridge then.) 

So I ran my first 5-K back in April.  My second in May.  Neither had quite the finish I had imagined.  But it feels good to push your body and mind to do something challenging. 
 In July, two of my friends signed up to run this race with me.  This was my most official race yet, and it met my standards.  I felt good about my performance.  I think that is one thing I love about running.  It is something I can do and work at and improve in.  It is something that, unlike much of what I do as a mom, stays done once I do it.  When I run, I have an amazing feeling of accomplishment. 
 I got done first so I was able to snap these picts of my running buddies.  I'm sure they love me for it.

And here we are at the end.  Running is such an interesting sport.  It is one where you are running with others, but (at least for me) competing against yourself.  And all I gotta do when I'm feeling a lack of motivation to get out the door and run is sign up for another race.  I encourage anyone to try it. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

County Fair

This last week was our county fair.  As a girl, I participated in 4-H.  I always remember completing projects to enter in the fair.  I'm sure I didn't appreciate all the hard work my mom put in to help me get those done.  I know I resisted a lot.  My least favorite part was writing the essay about the project.  I finished many of those essays at the fairgrounds right before I entered my items.  Since those days so long ago, my mom and sister-in-law and I still enjoy entering items into the fair.  Sometimes, we are competing against one another.  Other times, we just do it for fun.  I even helped my boys enter several items.  It is always fun to see how they do. 
 This fair also provides many free activities for kids.  This is the boys waiting for the horse drawn wagon to pick them up and take them for a ride.  They told me they wouldn't ride without me, so off we all went on a leisurely ride. 
 Next, the boys were able to participate in a "treasure hunt" where by age group, they searched through this sawdust for canisters full of treasures. 

 They were able to retrieve 5 canisters each and then inside, there were "cowboy bucks" that they could use at the trading post to buy stuff.  This was so fun for them.  There was also a free station one day to make homemade ice cream in a bag, and another day, a cookie decorating station.  There were pedal tractors where the boys could pedal the tractors to make them go.  (I forgot my camera in the car for that one.) 
There were even little play stations like this sand box for them to relax in.  There was also a model train display which is always a big hit with my boys.  We went up several times and it is always fun to break away from the routine of summer and do something different.  The boys really had fun. 
Chad with his blue ribbon for his coloring page.  The boys had so much fun looking through the buildings for "their" things.  Even stuff that my mom had made for them and borrowed back to enter into the fair was stuff they wanted to find.  Next year, we'll have to put in more things. 
 This is them with their ribbons.  Tyler only entered his painted rock monster, and Chad put in his monster and a coloring page.  Chad earned $4 for his ribbons and Tyler got $2.50.  They are pretty excited about that!  I was able to enter 5 or 6 sewing items and about 10 canning items.  In all, I earned $26.50 and took home a slew of prizes.  I even was awarded a rosette for the "best sewing item". 
Going to the fair sure makes me reflect on a time when life was so much simpler.  A county fair used to be the culmination of a years worth of hard work.  Now, it is more of a commercial affair, but we try to keep a little of that "fair spirit" alive around here.  If your county has a local fair, check it out.  You may be surprised at what there is there for you and your kids. 

I had to put in this one last picture of the boys in the "Green Machine".  Dave got to drive it in the Chubbuck Days parade and the boys got to throw candy.  They threw two BIG bags of taffy in about one block, so I had to ration the rest to last the remainder of the parade.  I can feel summer fading but we are trying to suck  up every last bit of it. 

Monday, August 15, 2011


I have a very dear friend who has struggled for many years to have a baby.  Although this has not been a trial I have experienced myself, I have hurt with her as she has endured many years of infertility.  I know that she has wanted to have the family that I have been blessed to have.  What she may not realize it that I too have been envious of her situation.  Not that I have wanted to struggle with infertility, but rather, that I would have liked to enjoy many of the vacations, elaborate dates, and childless evenings, that come from not having a family.  Don't get me wrong, I love being a mother, and I love my boys.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  But when I watch her and her wonderful hubby head out on a cruise, or see them take leisurely walks in the evening together, I can't help but long for that time with Dave.  Instead, we get a simple date away from our kids once or twice a month, we spend our vacation money on diapers, and we both work hard to support and raise our young family. 
It's funny how "the grass [always seems] greener on the other side."  This friend recently was finally able to become pregnant with her first little one.  She has finally achieved what she has longed for for so long.  And, now, she is SO sick.  This "motherhood" experience suddenly seems less than as "fun" as she had imagined.  And I'm sure that when this little one is born in a few weeks, and the sickness goes away, the sleepless nights and endless fatigue begin, she may again wonder what all the hype about having a baby was about.  Her life will change forever. 
Having a family does change your life forever.  And there are definitely times when it is HARD!  But it is worth it.  And although there are times that I long for a little time alone, or a chance to work on my own pursuits, or a wonderful vacation away, or (heaven forbid) eating a meal without having to get up once, I know that raising these little ones is so worth it.  I'm sure I'll reach that point of "quiet nights" or "fancy vacations" sooner than I realize, as my kids seem to be growing up so fast.  And, I won't be surprised when my friend, then at a place that I am now, will envy my situation.  I guess it just goes to show, the grass isn't really greener on the other side, it is just of a different variety.  We each need to enjoy the stages of life that we are in as every stage has it's joys and challenges.
So for now, I'm putting on my happy face, and going out to buy some diapers. :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Our Anniversary-7 Years

On Friday, Dave and I celebrated 7 years of marriage together.  I made him promise that we would do something "different" for our anniversary.  Pretty much every other year has been me at girls camp (3 times), me at Mary Kay Seminar (twice), or our first anniversary where we took our 3-week old baby to Nebraska and spent the night in a hotel room with him, Dave's sister and her 9-month old.  Very Romantic!  Anyway, so I vowed that this year would be different.  However, I didn't want to spend a ton of money either.  So, here is the run down of our activities. 
 My mom offered to take our boys for the entire night.  We have not had a night away from our boys (like all night long!) in probably 4 years.  It was time! 
I really wanted to go to the temple.  We have never been able to do this on our anniversary before, and it seemed so fitting. The temple grounds were all torn up, so we had to settle for a picture in our living room.  As a side note, I even chose to wear the very same dress I wore to our wedding luncheon.  
After the temple, we went out to dinner.  We don't do that very often, so for me, it is a real treat.   
 Next, we came back to Pocatello and changed and headed out to go mini golfing.  There is a great little place here that is outside and it was a beautiful night. 
 This is one of several fountains intermixed in the course. 
Let it be known that I WON the game.  I have never done that before, and I actually scored 5 holes in one.  I was pretty surprised myself.  Then we grabbed a Jamba and headed home.  It was blissful to come home to a quiet house and have just one night to not worry about kiddos.  (Thanks mom!) 

It has been a great seven years.  We have learned a lot, and I think we've come out on top.  Sure, a lot has changed.  Life is a lot more chaotic.  But we're happy.  In a nutshell, we've bought 3 homes, put Dave through school, had three children, 2 jobs, and lots of life lessons.  I'm looking forward to the next seven years. 

Seven things I love about Dave: (one for each year)
1. He works SO hard!
Many people don't know that Dave works 2 jobs so that I can be home with our boys.  And even while in school full-time, he worked 30+ hours each week.  I try to imagine what life would be like if he just came home from work and got to be home all night, but I may never know what that it like. 
2. He let's me (and encourages me) to do my own thing.
I know a lot of women who have hubby's that try to direct their lives.  They feel like they need their husbands permission to do things.  Dave and I discuss things, but he lets me do my own thing, and he supports me in my endeavors. 
3. He is a real dad.
I am blessed to have a man who is there for his kids.  There is no "babysitting".  It's called "parenting". 
4. He honors his priesthood. 
I appreciate that I can always call on Dave when I need a blessing.  He is a good spiritual leader. 
5.  He loves me just the way I am.
I know that I am not always fun to be with, and sometimes I pick on Dave when I am having a bad day, but somehow, he always loves me, even on my worst days.  He is quick to forgive and always looks for the good in me. 
6. He is very handy. 
Dave can build, fix, and figure out most anything.  He has done so many projects around our home and we have done many together.  He fixes what goes wrong, and I know he enjoys learning new things.  If he doesn't know how to fix it, he'll find out. 
7. We make a good team.
We really do!  Together, we just work well.  We accomplish a lot when we work together, and we usually have the same vision and can get the job done. 
 I love you, Dave.  Thanks for seven great years together! 

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