Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December 2014 on FB

December 2: The last time I saw my grandma, I was telling her some of my favorite memories of being in her home with her and grandpa when I was a child, and she said to me "Well...nothing ever stays the same", and I immediately teared up. She's the only one who called me "Sissy" my entire life (she was there when my mom brought me home from the hospital after I was born and my brothers called me that since I was their first sister), and I admit that although I don't like others calling me that, I will miss hearing her refer to me using my childhood nickname!

December 9: I get to perform with my bestie Amanda tonight at a Christmas party. Thanks FrankandAnnette for the opportunity!!

December 12: 12 days until Christmas, and I still haven't done a single Christmas-y thing: we don't have a tree yet, there are no decorations up in the house, I haven't sent cards out, and I have no idea what I will make for neighborhood gifts. This is a first, for sure! At this point, I don't even care if I do any of it, either. I'm feeling "blah" humbug!

December 13: I am looking forward to seeing the high school's play "The Game's Afoot: Holmes for the Holidays" for the second time tonight! But until then, I am going to spend the day cleaning the house so we can bring in a Christmas Tree tomorrow! All of the snow that is falling right now has put me back in the Christmas spirit again!

December 14: I'm a funky sock fan!!! I love colorful and wild socks! However, Josh is much more conservative in the sock department: he only wears solid white or black. He bought a pair of funky socks yesterday and was so happy about getting them that he wore them to church today. I giggled every time I looked at them because they look silly on him, but he really loves them!!! (p.s. He's a Dennis Rodman fan!!!)

December 15: After living in this town for the past 13 years, Josh FINALLY went to the Chinese Restaurant with me for the FIRST time today! Made my day because I usually eat their buffet lunch alone!

December 18: I'm glad I still have one son who is excited to see Santa! The others have outgrown him, unfortunately. I will be sad when I don't have anyone to take to the Library's Pajama Party with Santa anymore (p.s. Salmon peeps--that's tonight)!!!

December 19: I finally came up with an idea for neighbor gifts--but I can't seem to find any clear cellophane wrap ANYWHERE to complete my project!!! Seriously, where do you find this stuff?!!

December 24: Merry Christmas from our family to yours! Josh and I are so glad to have such wonderful friends and family!
December 26: I'm so happy we had a white Christmas! We are going sledding for the 3rd day in a row!

December 31: In retrospect, 2014 has been a good year for our family. I'm looking forward to what's to come in 2015, too!!

Top 40 Hits of 2014

Since Billboard has a Top 40 Hit list, we can too!! In keeping with tradition, I've made a Top 40 list of our family's favorite and/or most memorable happenings from 2014 (in chronological order):

1. Skiing with the Perkins family on New Years at Beaver Mountain.

2. Snowboarding for Ammon's birthday.

3. Sledding on the hill by our home when school was cancelled in January.

4. Seeing P!NK in concert.

5. Going bowling as a family for Kanyon's birthday.

6. Kanyon's Valentine's musical performance.

7. Watching a Jimmy Fallon marathon on a relaxing Saturday in February.

8. Ammon receiving his Eagle Scout.

9. Visiting Great Grandma Rose for the last time.

10. Exploring Goblin Valley State Park together in March.

11. Sliding down the giant sand hill in Moab.

12. Jonah finding the golden egg at the Perkins Annual Easter Egg Hunt.

13. Micah & Jonah performing in the play Schoolhouse Rocks.

14. Ammon & Kala going on band tour to Seattle in April.

15. Ammon speaking as a valedictorian at 8th grade graduation.

16. The boys having a water fight in the yard with the LaMont's in May.

17. Hosting the Elder's Quorum party in the yard, and watching the adults rope swing over the ditch.

18. Camping and hiking at Craters of the Moon with the Perkins cousins in June.

19. Seeing Kanyon score goals and block as the goalie in soccer.

20. Attending two weddings of Kala's sisters in the summer.

21. Watching the 4th of July firework show on a picnic blanket in Brigham City.

22. Josh & Ammon motorbiking on several trails while camping at the Big 8 Mile Creek in July.

23. Floating on innertubes as a family for the first time down the Salmon River.

24. Driving around on golf carts at the Salmon golf course one summer evening with Josh and our friends.

25. Swimming at the Rexburg Rapids water park.

26. Watching the buffalo at the hot pots in Yellowstone

27. Eating dinner with friends at the Broken Arrow for Kala's birthday.

28. Hosting an end-of-summer barbecue with friends on a Sunday afternoon in August.

29. Kala rafting on the Salmon River with Kerry and the Lemhi Education Project.

30. Partying at Squealer's Outdoor Fun Center for Jonah & Micah's birthday.

31. Josh & Kala going to Katy Perry's concert in September.

32. Jonah & Micah's football team scoring their first touchdown.

33. Kala & Amanda winning Salmon Idol in October.

34. Having a successful Pumpkin Patch with good weather sales days.

35. Ammon running a great district cross country race, qualifying him for the state race.

36. Eating lunch at Josephine's & dinner at the 28 Club for Josh's birthday.

37. Celebrating Thanksgiving with the Perkins family in Utah, and playing games after dinner.

38. Going to the Linger's friend party on Christmas Eve.

39. Spending Christmas morning at home, and relaxing all day in our pajamas.

40. Playing the radio's oldies contest on New Year's Eve with the Tolman family.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

We had Thanksgiving with the Perkins family at my parents' home in Tremonton this year. It's been 4 years since we've had Thanksgiving away from home, and I enjoyed it immensely! We drove down from Salmon to Tremonton on Thanksgiving day, and arrived within an hour of dinner. We sat around until everyone arrived and the delicious dinner was served. 
My mom had put name tags on everyone's plates
so we all knew where to sit!

Josh and Bryce watching some football (of course!) before dinner.

Cody's & Trina's families were already at the house when we arrived,
and we had fun playing with cousin Brendan!

As Cody was cutting the turkey,
my dad opened up all the sparkling ciders for us to drink.

The younger kids table was set up in the living room.

Yummy food: turkey, stuffing, rolls, mashed potatoes & homemade gravy, salads,
and yams (YES!! I love yams & Josh's family doesn't eat them at Thanksgiving).

Nothing says "I love Thanksgiving dinner!" quite like this face!

Here's Tabbi's toast to Thanksgiving!
As we ate Thanksgiving dinner, we all took turns talking about what we are grateful for. My mom said she was thankful for the family's sacrifice on her behalf as she's helped out my grandma the past year. My dad talked about a Thanksgiving he's reflected on from serving in Vietnam and being served a traditional American Thanksgiving meal by Vietnamese people who don't even celebrate that holiday. It was interesting to hear all my family's gratitude thoughts. After dinner was done, we sat around for a while, playing games and eating desserts.
Look at all that pie!!!

I had slivers of four pies to fill up my dessert plate: lemon meringue,
pumpkin cheesecake, my homemade pumpkin pie, and coconut cream pie.

Playing Ticket to Ride were Ammon, Aspen, Tabbi, Bryce & Tawna, and Jen.
It was the first time playing this game for half of them. 

We played a rousing game of "Things" where I was the butt of several responses!
In almost every round, there was a "Kala's Mouth" or "My Mom!" as answers!!

I love this photo: Bryce hamming up the camera, Tabbi playing with Sunny,
and Jen hyperfocused on answering the "Things" question.

I got a kick out of watching Abbie and Sunny
using spray cheese on crackers!

Forget having dessert on a plate--
Kanyon filled up his mouth with Cool Whip Spray!

It was an awesome Thanksgiving! Everyone came, and everyone got along, too!! We had a fabulous dinner and dessert, and enjoyed playing games and napping and visiting and laughing with each other! It felt good to be home with my family for the holiday, and I was so grateful for the chance! My kids all had a good time, too, which is another blessing! And that was just the beginning of our Thanksgiving weekend!

On Friday, Josh & I went Black Friday shopping all day, which we also haven't  done in 4 years. Black Friday has changed though, and a lot of the sales were on Thanksgiving Day, which we refused to participate in! We drove over to Logan on Friday morning and went to a TON of stores, and got a lot of our Christmas shopping done that day, which was nice. When we returned to Tremonton that afternoon, the boys were just playing outside in the nice weather at my parents' house, and they'd had a good time relaxing in the quiet house with all the extended family gone.

That night, Josh and I went to the newly renovated Ogden temple and did a session there, while  my mom watched the kids again for us, and it was so enjoyable for me!

On Saturday, we drove to Boise. We did a little bit more shopping with the boys this time, and took them to eat at Five Guys Burgers for the first time. While there, we saw our neighbor from Salmon! What a small world! After dinner, I dropped off Ammon & Josh at the stadium to watch the BSU vs. USU game that night. It was the first time that Ammon had ever been to a college game, and even though it was super late that night and freezing cold, they both had a good time and BSU won!

While they were having fun at the game, I took the other 3 boys to the Edwards Cinema theater in Boise to watch the MockingJay movie. I challenged both of the twins this past summer that if they would read all 3 Hunger Games books before Thanksgiving that I would take them to see the movie. Micah read all 3 books in time, and Jonah was over halfway into the 3rd book, so I accepted it. They liked seeing the movie in a large theater with reclining seats. We also had a good time together.

We spent the night at our friend Krissy's house, even though she was in Salmon celebrating Thanksgiving with her own family. On Sunday morning, we drove home, and Ammon proclaimed this year's Thanksgiving to be the "Best Thanksgiving Ever" which I had to agree!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

It's Autumn Time, It's Autumn Time

We had such a gorgeous fall! It was so warm well into October, and the leaves fell a lot later than usual this year.

On Halloween, we still had flowers blooming, which was so unreal! The weather was so beautiful and I enjoyed the Indian Summer!

Two weeks after Halloween, we went from late summer directly into winter!!! It snowed four inches in one day, and the green grass was instantly covered in white!

There was enough snow to build a snowman, and Jonah and Micah built an awesome one! I didn't think to take photos of it until a few days later, and some of the snow had melted by then, but you can still see some green grass even then!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Random Sillies

Sometimes I forget to capture the small moments of our lives on my blog...moments that will fade away if I don't record them. It's the small things that really make memories memorable, and I want to be able to retain them! So here's a few little moments that happened this fall that were silly and brought a smile to my face:

At one of Ammon's Cross Country races in October, Kanyon came with me because he had a dentist appointment in Idaho Falls that same day. It was a good cross country meet for him to go to because it was at Rigby, where there's water to throw rocks into, sand to play in, and a large playground area to climb all over. Before Ammon's race, Kanyon played on the playground. During the race, Kanyon played on the beach. But after the race, I couldn't find him! I had been talking to Ammon and walking along, and suddenly I couldn't see him anymore. There were a LOT of people there, and I searched all over, calling his name, but couldn't find him. I was beginning to panic after 20 minutes of looking with no success. I started tracing over my steps, looking everywhere for the second time, and when I went back to the playground for the 2nd time, I was relieved to finally spot him, and couldn't help but laugh when I found him in this position: 

As I've been looking through Kanyon's school folder at the end of each week, I've started finding drawings and doodles on his math papers. Math is his favorite subject, and apparently he gets done very fast and waits for others to finish, and he's found extra time to practice his sentence structures and art drawings!! I found this first one quite entertaining! And the dragon drawings have become more common lately: I've discovered at least 7 pictures of them in the last three weeks! Kanyon has never been an artistic child (in fact, he used to have tantrums in Kindergarten when it was art time), so seeing him create these freehand drawings have made my heart happy

While we were cleaning and sorting the remainder of our garden's potatoes at the beginning of November, I came across a unique one. It reminded me simultaneously of a Mr. Potato Head with the giant eyes inserted, and also of the character "Sloth" from the Goonies due to the lopsided nature of its eyes. I fell in love with this potato, and its irregularities. Finding it was totally the highlight of that work project for me!

During the 3rd week of November, the elementary school had its parent-teacher conferences and the library's book fair coincided with it, too. I remember loving the book fair and book orders when I was a kid, and I'm glad my boys feel the same about it. They took their money to it, and purchased a new book each, and perused over what new pens/erasers/posters they could get, too. On the last day of the book fair, which was the same day that our conferences were scheduled, Jonah and Micah bought a new pen that had a rubber top with hard plastic balls attached--it looked like a mini jester hat. As soon as we got home, they instantly took apart the top of the pens and created silly goatees out of them instead!!! I would never have though to even do that, and I couldn't stop chuckling at the sight of them!

At the beginning of November, the twins had a week-long school project with a professional Storyteller. The Salmon Arts Council brought her in and she worked with all the 5th grade students teaching them how to be better storytellers. They interviewed people and learned how to retell those stories, they told their own stories, and some created new make-believe stories. Twenty students were selected to share one of their stories in front of an audience at the City Center at the end of that week. Micah was chosen to share the story of how he fell off the haybale last year and split his head open (here's a link to the blog post about it if you want more details: Micah's bloody fall). He did a good job presenting his story in front of the audience, and was kind of silly with his sound effects and quoting me! It made the audience laugh, too!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

These are a few of my favorite things: Birthday Edition

I had 3 days of absolute bliss on Josh's birthday weekend in November. I loved it so much; it felt like it was really my birthday, too!! I don't think I've ever felt that before, but I was truly elated and enjoyed spending Josh's birthday weekend with him doing things together that he loves. 

On Friday, November 7 (his actual birthday), we slept in (that's always a gift in itself!!), then went to lunch at Josephine's Pizza in North Fork. This was the last weekend they were open for the season (they close for the winter months), and we just love their food! We had the Vic's special and cheesy breadsticks, and were stuffed full of delicious food when we were done, and we took the leftovers for the kids to eat for dinner (because they were bummed that we didn't let them join us for lunch there)! 

Then we drove up to Gibbonsville because of the High Country Gift Trail specials that were going on, and we stopped at the Broken Arrow Restaurant where our friend Joey was selling some of his framed photo prints. We talked to Joey and Karen for a while, and then Josh bought two pictures: one of an eagle flying amid snowy, mountain surroundings, and one of sunlight shining brightly through dense trees in the dead of winter. He's wanted to buy some of the framed prints for years, and was so glad that he finally did! Gibbonsville is a 45 minute drive from Salmon, so after getting the pictures, we had a peaceful, enjoyable ride home together. 

That evening, I decided to do something different with Josh's birthday gifts. Since he already knew most of the things he was getting, I thought it would be fun to do something different with them than just wrap them up. I told the kids to each pick one gift, and then they would hide it somewhere in the house and write a clue that would go with its location for Josh to have to hunt and find it. This was fun for both Josh and the kids! I gave Josh a birthday card, and in it was a note that he'd have to search for his gifts and the first clue was included, too.

We all laughed watching him go on the treasure hunt, and found hilarity in the locations where the gifts were placed. Ammon's clue was "this is where you leave your laundry", and he knew his dad's habits so well, in fact, that when Josh found his gift in the dryer it was sitting on the clothes that he'd left in there from the last load he'd done!!  It was so funny that the clue was so obviously spot on!! Micah's clue was "this is where you go to watch TV", and he'd set his gift under the couch cushion. Moments earlier, when Josh had been reading his birthday card, he didn't even realize he was sitting on top of his gift, nor did I! I thought Micah had set the gift underneath the couch, and we all bust out laughing when Josh realized where the gift was!
I know this is a terrible photo of Josh bending over, but it does have a good view
of Josh's birthday gift to himself: these Rock Revival jeans!
Jonah's clue was next, and it read "where you go to eat dinner". He'd set the gift inside the drawer at the end of the dining table where Josh's seat is. The gift was almost too small for the drawer, and it took Josh a few minutes to get it out of the drawer, which was so funny because it went into the drawer effortlessly for Jonah! Kanyon's clue was this:

His gift was in the bathtub. We found this one funny because of the spelling of the word "cleo"!! His last clue was from me, and it was "where you go to relax and rest". I'd purposefully made this one tricky. He checked his bed, his reclining chair, and even the toilet!!! I'd put it on the hammock swing outside, and he finally realized it after several minutes of coming up with nothing inside the house. He received some jerky from Kanyon, a summer sausage roll from Micah, his favorite cereal Cracklin Oat Bran from Jonah, a biker gnome from Ammon, and a comfortable stadium chair from me.

That night, we went to the hot springs with Amanda, and had a good soak. There was a fire going in the outdoor pit, which we hardly ever have at that hot springs, and it was nice to warm up before and after soaking!
Josh's hooded face in the firelight reminded me of
Pocahontas' grandmother that speaks from the side of the tree.
Can you see the resemblance?!!
His birthday was such a happy, enjoyable day, but the fun didn't end there! On Saturday night, we went out with our friends John, Amanda, and Brad. We ate dinner at the 28 Club (Josh's favorite restaurant), and thankfully they had one last piece of prime rib for him (his favorite thing to eat there). We laughed and talked and ate well and had such a good time together. Then we went out to karaoke and dancing afterwards (one of our favorite activities to do with our friends), and the fun just continued! We had such a fabulous night with our friends! On Sunday, we invited his parents over for dinner, and Josh cooked his own birthday meal of steak (his favorite food to make) and I made the mashed potatoes and gravy.

His birthday celebration had the makings of all of his (and a lot of mine) favorite things: spending alone time together, having fun with our family, going out with our friends, and eating fantastic food!! Thanks for sharing your awesome birthday with me, babe!

Friday, December 26, 2014

"Run, Run as fast as you can... can't catch me, I'm Ammon from Salmon!"

Ammon went to a Cross Country camp in Montana this past summer, and while there, the kids tried to learn the names of the runners from the other schools in attendance. One girl remembered Ammon's name because it rhymes with Salmon, the town that he's from. She said "Ammon from Salmon" so often during the camp, that it stuck in everyone's minds, and during Cross Country season, I heard him referred to that a lot!!!

Ammon had a good freshman season of Cross Country this fall. There were two senior runners on his team, and besides them, he was the next fastest runner. At the first few meets, it was tricky for him to find a good pace for the new length of 5k (in middle school, they only ran between 1 and 2 miles at meets).  When he started getting the hang of it, though, he injured his knee (which I've already blogged about HERE), which was a setback. Finally, the last 3 meets of the season, he was feeling better AND running his best, and he individually qualified to run at the state meet!
The Salmon team got awesome new jerseys this year.
This made it easy for us to spot them in a crowd of runners!

Ammon's first meet was at the Journey's End Golf Course in Shelley. It was a hot day and he started off fast, and both made him soooo exhausted by the end!
I love this picture of him at the beginning of the race!

Josh poured ice water over him after he crossed the finish line.

The second race at Mud Lake went a little better than his first race. The weather wasn't as hot, and he had a better pace running near senior Dylan the whole time. It was a new course, with a lot of flat running along ditch banks of farm land.
He's getting good muscle tone from all the workouts!

He's in the center of the photo--4 runners ahead of Dylan

The next race was at the reservoir in Rigby. It's a good race for spectators, because they run around the reservoir twice, and you can see the runners almost the whole time. This was the first race that Ammon ran in after his furniture-moving accident. He ran at the back of the pack, and was in pain the whole race. It was a very frustrating meet for him.
Notice the heat wrap on the left knee to help with the pain

He sprinted at the finish to try and catch up with this runner. It was a close finish!
The next race was the course at Eagle Island in Meridian, where the state meet would be held. I wasn't able to see this race, but Josh drove the team's bus, and he watched it. Ammon was still in a lot of pain, and wasn't happy with his results.

By the next race, however, he was doing much better, and his knee wasn't troubling him as much. The race was in Challis, and once again I wasn't able to see it. I had taken Jonah and Micah to their football game in Rigby, and we didn't make it to Challis in time to see him run. He was glad that he was feeling better, and was feeling hopeful for his final races of the season after that, and we were all relieved as well.

The next race was at the golf course in Salmon, and he ran SO well! It was a joy to see him race and feel confident about his performance. He had a good start, a great pace through the race, and an exciting finish, where he sprinted and passed Cole at the finish line!
Starting off strong with seniors Dylan and Billy

Approaching the hill next to 8 teebox

The coach added this strawbale obstacle on the cart path.
I love their faces & arms in this photo!

This was the distance between Dylan, Colde, & Ammon at the end.
Ammon sprinted & caught up to & barely passed Cole at the finish line!
I loved seeing him smile after crossing the finish line!!

He placed 7th in this race, and the top 10 received a visor (instead of a medal).

The next race was the District Tournament at the Challis Hot Springs again in Challis. He had another fantastic race! I was so proud of him as I watched him excel! He finished 12th, and the top 18 individual male runners qualified to run at state from our district.
Finishing the first of 2 laps around the course

Running through the creek on his 2nd lap of the course

Dylan is right on his heels here; he ended up passing him. 

Some of the finalists--the top 10 received a medal.
Dylan was 10th, and Ammon was 12th.

In addition to individually qualifying, both the boys and girls teams from Salmon qualified by winning FIRST place!! It was super exciting to see both teams be announced as District Champions!

The state meet was on Halloween weekend, so once again, I was unable to see him run, but thankfully Josh did because he drove the bus again. Ammon did much better this time around running the Eagle Island course, though. The boys team didn't place at state, but the girls team got 2nd place. It was a good experience for Ammon to be able to go!

At the awards assembly in November, Ammon received his letter and cross country pin. We look forward to 3 more years of running and conditioning! Cross Country is an awesome sport, and we are so glad Ammon participates in, enjoys it, and does so well at it!