Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 2013 on FB

July 3: took Micah to see "Monsters University" yesterday. It was so cute! I have thoroughly enjoyed my monthly dates with my sons!

July 4: floated down the muddy Salmon River today with Ammon & Tanisha--it looked like Willy Wonka's chocolate river. It was so fun and the perfect way to spend the July 4th afternoon.

July 4: feeling super bummed that I'm sitting at home on the night of July 4th because Salmon City didn't do any big fireworks show this year. Instead, we worked on our float for the Salmon River Days parade tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to it!

July 10: After being in pain all day Saturday, Josh took me to the e.r. on Sunday morning and my appendix was removed that afternoon. I'm finally back home again and healing. Thanks to all those who've brought in meals or flowers, helped with the kids, and checked in on me. I appreciate your thoughtfulness!

July 13: After a very long week, I was finally able to sleep in my own bed again! What a good feeling!

July 15: After 2 months of struggling with some medical issues, seeing multiple doctors, and having a mirage of tests done, I finally found answers today and have a plan of action. What a relief to find a Dr. specialist who treated me with respect, listened to me, and diagnosed me. I'm so full of relief and happiness to know that within a few months I will be better again!

July 18: Do you ever get sweaty palms? If so, under what circumstances? I'm just wondering what creates the strange bodily phenomenon...

July 24: what was life like before Duck Dynasty?!

July 26: Loved date night tonight: golfing & grabbing a bite to eat after. I just love spending time alone with my hot hubby!

July 31: Reason #164 why I love Josh Tolman: he removes the dead mice from the mouse traps and puts them into the garbage can for me. Thanks honey!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Just Keep Swimming

Swimming lesson sign-ups in Salmon were the 2nd to the last day of school in May. Sign-ups are always in May, but this year they were especially late. It had been a crazy day at school with Kindergarten Graduation, and end-of-year activities, and I was a little stressed. The sign-ups were at 5:00, but I've done this enough years to know that you need to be early if you want to get in the right session/class. So, I made plans for my boys to go home after school and to be picked up from the babysitter's house. I went to City Hall alone at 3:30, and I was the 2nd person in line. I waited an hour and a half before they opened the doors to let people in to sign-up.
This year, it was even more disorganized than usual. They didn't hand out forms to any of us who were waiting so that we could already have the information written down. They told us as soon as we walked in the door (after they were opened at 5:00) that we were to fill out the forms then get in line for the different classes. Last year, they had the lines in the sign-up room divided into sessions, which makes much more sense because most people try to put their multiple kids in classes that are in the same session. I was mortified to find out that they had changed it back to the old way of signing up by classes instead of sessions. So, after waiting an hour and a half, and finding out that I would have to stop and pick up the papers after they opened the doors, and then try and get in two different lines for my 3 kids, I had a panic attack. I couldn't breathe and I felt light-headed and I thought I was going to pass out. It was the second public panic attack I'd had in 2 weeks, and I was so humiliated.
I am not alone in hating the way that the City of Salmon does their swimming lesson sign-ups. It feels like Black Friday sales at Walmart--where everyone is crowded around an item, waiting for the right time to start grabbing and pushing to get what they want. As soon as the City opened the doors to let us in, it was mass chaos. I grabbed the forms, went to one line, and then had to wait in another line. Each swimming lesson class only allows 5 students in it, and there was only one session the entire summer that the 3 younger boys could all have a class at the same time. It was also the only session that we would be at home for the entire two weeks--each of the 3 other sessions had scheduling conflicts with our family's summer schedule. It was imperative that all 3 boys made it into the classes during the 1st session. I went to the line for the twins first, because I knew that fitting 2 boys into one class would be the higher priority. By the time I signed them up, and had to wait in line for Kanyon's class, he was the 4th of 5 students signed up. I was relieved they all made it into the necessary session and class, but I was upset that I had to be put through this stressful process so close to the end of school.
The first session of swimming lessons was June 17 - June 27. They have 45-minute lessons 4 days a week for two weeks, and their class times began at 9:15. We've never been in the 1st session before, and we've also never done the earliest time--we usually have lessons in the 10 or 11:00 hour. The weather was cold & rainy during most of their lesson days, and they always came out of the water freezing. There were a few days that it was sunny & warm, and those are the days I tried to get pictures of the boys swimming.
Jonah and Micah were in Level 4 this year, and had a really nice teacher, Ashley. There were 6 kids in their class: 3 boys and 3 girls. Their friend Erik was the other boy in their class, and they were glad about that. They spent a majority of their time in the deep end practicing treading water, multiple swim strokes, and diving. They are both really good swimmers and I liked watching them improve!

Kanyon repeated Level 2 again this year, which is mostly in the shallow end. There were 5 kids in his class, and his teacher was Melisa. She is so awesome and fun and we love her! Her helper was Tim, and Kanyon knew him from being an aid in Kindergarten, so he was happy to have Tim as an instructor, too. He listened to his teachers and tried his best and he did so well this year and passed off all the requirements, so he will be moving up to Level 3 next year. I am so proud of him!

At the beginning of the 2nd week of swimming lessons, we couldn't find Kanyon's turquoise dolphin-shaped goggles anywhere. He needs his goggles to swim, otherwise he spends the entire time wiping his eyes and he refuses to put his head under water because of that reason. He borrowed one of the twins' goggles that morning, and I ran to the store down the street to get another pair of goggles for him, but they only had toddler-size ones in stock. I came back to the pool, and looked in their lost & found, hoping to find them, but instead I came across another treasure: Kanyon's glasses. We hadn't been able to find them for about 2 weeks. We'd cleaned his room, and looked all over the house but they hadn't surfaced anywhere. The first week that the swimming pool was open, I took the boys swimming, and apparently he'd taken his glasses with him and left them there. I never would've thought to look at the pool for his glasses, so it was a huge blessing to have found his glasses when I was looking for his {much cheaper} goggles. The next day, I found his goggles in the soccer bag (I have no idea why they were THERE!), but it all worked out and I felt so grateful to have recovered his glasses and his goggles!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

BHT Reunion 2013

For nearly 50 years, the Benjamin Hewitt Tolman Reunion has been hosted annually by one of Benjamin Hewitt's children's families. He had 10 children, and Josh's grandpa Rex was one of them. There are only two that are still alive today: Aunt Louise and Uncle Ed. This year, Uncle Jack's family hosted the reunion on the family farm in Jerome, Idaho. I love the BHT Reunion, and I absolutely love it when it's hosted by Uncle Jack's family in Jerome! They are a large family (Jack also had 10 kids), and they are so fun to talk to and be around, and Kent & Sindy's backyard has so many play opportunities for kids!
The last time we were there for the reunion was 2004. At that time, Ammon was only 4 and the twins were 9 months old. Ammon was unable to join us for the reunion this year, because he was just returning from Scout Camp with my Dad's troop and was in Utah. Gideon offered to pick him up from my parent's house in Tremonton and bring him to Jerome, but he decided to stay with my parents for one more day before they brought him to Salmon. So, since I didn't get any photos of him at this year's reunion, here's a few photos of him from the reunion in 2004: 
Ammon with cousin Cody by the eating area:

On the steps of the homemade playground equipment that Kent built in the yard:

Posing in the backyard playground with cousin Madison who is the same age:
This year's reunion was the weekend of June 21-23. Every major life event happened within our big extended family that weekend: cousin Danielle's wedding was in Brigham City on Friday, cousin Dale's funeral was in Jerome on Saturday, one of cousin Judy's children was baptized in Ogden on Saturday, and cousin Spencer's baby was due that weekend, too! 
(I got to take a turn holding cousin Kayla's precious newborn daughter.)
As the family has grown, and multiple family generations have been created, it has become harder to have a weekend that everyone can join us! I was so glad we were able to attend this year's reunion. Josh and I drove down on Saturday morning with our 3 younger boys and arrived before lunch of Sloppy Joes began.

After lunch, there was lots of down-time with the family. There were family members present of 7 of the 10 children of Benjamin Hewitt:: Ralph, Don, Twila, Ed, Rex, Jack, & Louise.

Lots of chairs placed under shade canopies provided the perfect opportunity for sitting & talking, which the adults did for HOURS! I enjoyed every minute of it! I laughed so hard! And Josh & I both got to talk to family members that we hadn't seen for years!

All of Josh's siblings came and were together for a little while that afternoon. I'm so grateful for family reunions that bring loved ones together and unite them!

While the adults visited, the children played non-stop in the Paradise Play-yard that was visible from where the adults were. It's truly the perfect set up for reunions!

Jonah on the zip line that runs through the yard (he & Micah both rode it a TON!):

Kanyon, Jonah, and Judson taking a ride in the barrel train:

Kanyon at the top of the giant homemade spiral slide:

Micah climbing the rope on the playground equipment:

Kanyon on the obstacle course & Micah on the spinning pipe:  

 For dinner, we ate some super delicious Soda-Pop chicken. It was seriously mouth-watering good!

After dinner, Kanyon and I walked around and looked at the chickens for a while. He just loves chickens! He was talking so sweetly to them, but they all kept running away from him!

That evening, I decided to be courageous and try the zip line. The last time I tried the zip line at a Tolman reunion, it was disastrous. It was the first time in my life I'd ridden one. It was really long, and started super high. I climbed up the platform, grabbed onto the handlebar, and began going down, but the bar stopped on the zip line midway down, and I freaked out!!! I screamed and my hands clenched on so tight. Josh grabbed my feet and ran me further down the line, and it stopped midway again! I couldn't believe it! Josh came to my rescue again, and by the time I was at the end, my fingers were so tightly wrapped around the bar, I couldn't undo them!!! My arms were cramped, too, and I began bawling. It was awful! I was so for hours afterwards, and felt traumatized. So, I wanted to redeem myself from the last time, and I looked at the zip line in their backyard all day trying to gain the courage to do it. So, as people were leaving, I knew there would be less spectators, and it wouldn't be as embarrassing for me if it ended badly again. I went up the ladder quietly, but then cousin Janae saw me and started loudly cheering for me and pretty soon every single person in the entire yard was yelling and staring at me, and then I got super nervous. At that point, I wanted to just climb back down, but I felt humiliated just thinking about doing it. It took several minutes of me talking and crying and yelling and onlookers encouraging me before I finally did it. Thanks Aunt Linette for taking this {unattractive} photo of me as proof that I actually went through with it!

 So then Josh had to try it, too, and of course he made it look so good and easy...

Cousin Janae was leaving the following morning for Germany; her husband was stationed there and she was moving there with her kids. Her kids had a goodbye photo together with some of their cousins, and there were lots of tears and hugs!

And that's when we decided to leave and drive back home. It was about 9:30, and the last remnants of the sun were still visible in the sky. We got home at 1:30 in the morning--which was super late and hard to drive after midnight because we were both so tired, but at least the kids slept on the trip which made it nice, because that morning when we drove down, we had a child puke on the winding river road to Challis.

That day was my most favorite yet of this summer. It was the prefect combination of adult time and kid play time. I loved laughing and visiting with family, and watching the boys have so much fun in the yard. Thanks to the Jack Tolman family for hosting another awesome reunion! We all loved it!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

even shorter

Since January, I've had a shorter haircut...

For the most part, I really like it: I get lots of compliments on it, and it's easy to style every day. The only problem with a short haircut is that after about 3 weeks, it starts bothering me and I have to go get it cut again. When I used to have my A-line haircut, I would go like 3 months before it would start to bother me. I prefer to not have to get it cut so dang often, because scheduling appointments and paying for pampering myself is not a strength of mine. So, now that I have to get my hair cut more often, I kept thinking the solution to the problem of the higher frequency of salon trips was to get my hair cut even shorter, thus extending the time in between cuts. So...I got my hair cut even shorter last month...It's been about 3 weeks and it hasn't started bothering me yet, so maybe it was a good solution?!

Perhaps I should just grow it out, though...because I've never spent so much money on hair product to keep it all spikey and full of volume each day. Between the cost of hair product and higher frequency of haircuts, it might be worth it to grow it out to the easy length again, like this haircut of 2010 (one of  my favorite cuts ever):

Okay...after comparing myself in these photos from June of 2013 to December of 2010, I just decided that all future self-portraits should only be taken after I've applied some mascara (I look WAY better with a little bit of eye-makeup). Also, note to self: self-portraits using day light is much more becoming than the dim lights of the bathroom in the evening.
Also, I want to shout out a big thank you to my hairdresser, and good friend, Amanda for always doing to my hair what I request! Even if it's taking my hair to even shorter lengths!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cousins Camp 2013

On the 2nd day of our family trip to Utah in June, I had planned a Cousins Camp day for my boys with their Perkins girl cousins in Logan. After we woke up at my mom's house in Tremonton and had breakfast, the boys played the wii for a while I got ready for the day.
My sis-in-law Jen had a booth at her Farmer's Market, and wouldn't be done until after 12:00, so the boys and I ate an early lunch at my mom's house, then we drove over to Logan and did a bit of shopping before the Cousins Camp activities began. We went to Gossner's and loaded up on flavored milks and cheese. Then we went to DI and I scored with 2 new (to us) dining chairs, which we had to creatively squeeze into the van packed with boys and bags! Then we stopped at Sams Club for a few groceries before heading to Mick & Jen's house.
Our first planned activity together was to go swimming at the Logan outdoor Aquatic Center. The kids all changed into their swim clothes before we left the house; Jen took her 3 older girls, and I took the boys (Mick stayed at the house with baby Sunny). As soon as we arrived at the pool, it was the lifeguard break time, so we had a few minutes to sit and chill before getting in the water.  
It was a sunny, hot day, and the kids couldn't wait to jump in the water when the lifeguards finally blew their whistles. At first, the older kids went to the deeper pool, and Jen & I stayed with the two younger kids in the shallow pool.

The Logan Aquatic Center has two slides in addition to the pools, and we took turns going on the long/fast slide and the winding/slower slide. Everybody went on both except Kanyon and Abbie, and I took lots of pics of their slide-runs, but unfortunately didn't get one of Libby.




Ammon always had such huge splashes on the fast slide, as evidenced here with just his feet visible!
Kanyon had a bad experience with a waterslide a few years ago, and has refused to go on one since. But I bribed him with money if he would go on the slower slide, and showed him how the lifeguard would catch him at the bottom, and he actually decided to go ahead and try it. I was so proud of him! And I was surprised that he liked it! He went a few more times after that; I was so shocked!
After some sliding and swimming, the older kiddos thought it would be fun to go jumping off the diving board and high dive together. My boys had never been on a high dive. I hated that thing growing up, so I volunteered to take photos instead of jump...


Libby on the high dive & Jonah on the diving board doing simultaneous jumps/tricks:


Jen had the best jump shot of the day!!!

As soon as we were done doing lots of jumps/dives/tricks, the lifeguards had another break time...
At this point, a lot of people in the pool began to leave, but our kids were still having fun and didn't want to go yet, so we stayed longer. It was nice having more room to play in the water.

We stayed at the pool for over 5 hours, and the kids had a blast. When we all started getting tired and hungry, we left to go back to Mick & Jen's house. My mom had previously prepared a dinner for us, so that we could relax and not have to worry about the food (thanks, Mom!), and Mick grilled up the hamburgers & hot dogs. It was a delicious dinner that included her yummy potato salad,  flavored chips, pop, and dessert.


The kids played in the backyard for a while, enjoying their relaxing time together.

They played a made-up game with a soccer ball, that baby Sunny got a hold of...

and older sister Libby made a joke out of...

Then we went for a bike ride/walk almost a mile away to a new park, and the kids played until it was dusk.

The kids all sped ahead on their bikes, so it was nice to spend some time walking & talking with Jen. Except, I got pooped on by a bird on the walk. Yuck!

After we walked/rode back to Mick & Jen's house, it was almost dark and the kids decided to put up a tent in the backyard to sleep in. Jen & I, and Aspen & Ammon put it up and it was no easy task!

The kids brought in their sleeping bags & pillows and got them all situated to have a camping sleepover with their cousins. Libby didn't make it through the night before coming in the house to stay, but the other kids slept all night in the tent!

On Sunday morning, Jen made us a nice breakfast, then we made a gift for Grandpa P. because it was Father's Day. I drove back over to Tremonton and took my boys to my parent's ward Sacrament Meeting. Then we had a family dinner after church, and Mick & Jen's family joined us and my youngest sister Katrina came with her boyfriend Dan.

I packed up the car, and got everything ready to go. I left all of Ammon's stuff there so he'd be ready to leave for Scout Camp the next day with my dad, and we said our goodbyes to our cousins and my parents and Ammon (but not before having one last popsicle).

It was a super fun weekend! I love it when the boys have opportunities to play with their cousins. I remember when I was younger how much I loved having time to be with my cousins, because we didn't live by any of them. I'm so glad my boys get along with their cousins, and I'm grateful for happy memories that are created when we do get-togethers like these.