Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 40 Hits of 2015

Since Billboard has a Top 40 Hit list, I think we should, too!! It's an annual tradition now to reflect on our family's favorite memories in this format!

So, here's our top 40 memories from 2015 (in chronological order):

1. Ammon turning 15 and getting his driver's license!

2. Celebrating Kanyon's birthday at Blast Off in Idaho Falls.

3. Kanyon's baptism; it was such a spiritually uplifting event!

4. Kala & Ammon's trip to Virginia and Washington DC to visit the Fisher family.

5. Celebrating Easter in Utah with the Perkins family--Josh and Jonah found the gold eggs!

6. Josh & Kala's anniversary weekend: eating at Stockman's, staying at the Destinations Inn, and going to cousin Michael & Denae's wedding

7. Watching Ammon compete in golf tournaments, and seeing him do so well at state!

8. Josh purchasing a motorcycle.

9. Ammon & Kala's trip to Lagoon with the high school music group.

10. Ammon purchasing the black box car.

11. Going camping at Hayden Creek Pond shortly after Ammon's motorcycle accident.

12. Josh doing the scavenger hunt to receive his Father's Day gifts.

13. Being at the BH Tolman reunion in Tremonton to spend time with cousins despite the 100+ degree weather.

14. Watching Kanyon do so well at his soccer games: he excelled in every position!

15. Spending the 4th of July in Salmon: doing our own fireworks, floating the river with Malachi, and going to the parade, city fireworks display, and demo derby.

16. Hosting the Perkins Reunion: especially floating the river, shooting clay pigeons, and playing with cousin Brendan.

17. Vacationing two days at the Silverwood Resort: riding the rides and sliding the water slides!

18. Visiting Great Grandpa Perkins in Spokane.

19. Josh, Jonah, and Micah twins hiking and camping in the Crags.

20. Camping at Stanley Lake with Ryan and Heidi, especially paddle boarding on the lake and spending the day at the beach.

21. Rafting down the Salmon River with the Tolman family.

22. Going to Coral's wedding in Boise.

23. Hunting this fall and having all 4 guys (Josh, Ammon, Jonah, and Micah) tag a deer within 2 days.

24. Kanyon's pumpkin patch sale day at the Sacajawea Center.

25. Watching Jonah's team play football and cheering excitedly when they won their first game ever!

26. Going to i-Jump for Jonah and Micah's birthday.

27. Josh, Jonah, and Micah running in the 5k Color Run.

28. Watching Ammon and Micah run at their cross country meets; they both had such strong finishes in every race (until Ammon got injured).

29. Carving pumpkins.

30. Celebrating Halloween: dressing up, going trick-or-treating, and watching "Goosebumps" at the theater.

31. Josh and Kala's trip to Mexico for Josh's 39th birthday, especially ziplining in the jungle, laying on the beach, visiting ruins, and getting Mexican massages.

32. Spending Thanksgiving with the Tolmans in Salmon.

33. Picking out our Christmas tree in the mountains.

34. Having a Star Wars marathon.

35. Spending Christmas at home.

36. Visiting the Forsgren's in Stanley over Christmas Break.

37. Going skiing/snowboarding in Utah with Grandpa Perkins.

38. Inviting families to join us once a month for dinners at our home.

39. Playing board games with others; this year some of our favorites were Things, Telestrations, and the card game Golf.

40. Going on monthly dates with the boys.

December 2015 on FB

December 3: Look who I got to sit by at the ward party tonight! I can't wait for their wedding next month!

December 3 [Posted by Josh]: Late evening basketball trip to Driggs. Go Savages!

December 4: We got a new {to us} couch today in Idaho Falls! I've been looking on Craigslist for one for a while, because our current sectional couch has been bugging me with its rips & tears, sagging sofa, and broken reclining footstools. We got this used sectional 5 years ago, and it's been good for our family, but I'm glad to be saying goodbye to it:

December 5: We moved the new {to us} sectional into the living room today, and look who made himself right at home on it:

December 5: I've put it off long is the day for making pumpkin puree.

December 5: three orange pumpkins and one blue pumpkin later and I've got 18 quarts of pumpkin puree. I've never made it with blue pumpkin before. It's super thick, and very bright, and has a very unique flavor. I'm excited to use it!

The blue pumpkin puree is on the far right--it's darker than the others

December 6: Took a trip up the mountain with my boys today to find a Christmas tree. We got a pine this year instead of a fir. Josh did a great job picking out the perfect one. I'm already in love with it!

December 8: Today was a gift: school got cancelled due to icy roads and road closures. So I spent ALL day (and night) making my mom's annual Christmas gift: the photo calendar with all my siblings and the grandchildren included.

December 9: One month ago today, I woke up super early to see the sunrise over the ocean on our last day of vacation to Mexico. Josh and I sat on the beach watching the glorious view as long as we possibly could. We had a long day of travel ahead of us (we didn't get home that night until almost 3am), and I was so tired all day because I am not a morning person and don't normally wake up at 5:30am (which was 3:30 Idaho time). But I never once regretted waking up so early to get that view. In fact, I have missed it EVERY day since.

December 11: This is our money jar. It sits on the kitchen counter top all year long, and when someone cusses or does something they're not supposed to do, they have to put money in the jar (usually a quarter). Josh puts a lot of pennies in the jar from his pile of change, too. At the end of each year, we empty the jar, and apply it to a Christmas charity. This year, the contents of the jar totalled $30. That's more than ever before--which is both bad and good. Apparently we're doing more naughty things, but the payoff is better!

December 11: I went out to get the Christmas skirt out of the shed this afternoon, and when I pulled it out of the storage box, it was covered in lint and mouse poop. I couldn't figure out how that was possible, because the box was plastic and the lid was on it tightly and it was the 4th box from the floor in a tall stack. But then I saw a hole in the plastic on the underside of the box. I unfolded the fabric and discovered a mouse had made its nest in it at some point this year. I only got to use this tree skirt once! I was so irritated! 

December 15: I've had anxiety about going to the grocery store ever since the beginning of November, when I went inside and they were in the middle of a shelving remodel. That first week of November, all the items in the store were in a weird place as they were moving things around, and you could barely walk down many of the aisles. I had a panic attack the night I went in alone without prior knowledge of it taking place. I've avoided the store like the plague since then, and have refused to do a full round of grocery shopping for over 6 weeks. If we needed something, I just walked into the store, grabbed whatever would fit in my arms, and left. The shelves are super tall now, and I feel claustrophobic when I walk inside. We've been using up some of our food storage the last few weeks as a result of my anxiety about going in the store. Finally tonight, Josh took me to the store with him. He got a grocery cart and MADE me walk through the entire store with him as we did the first real grocery shopping since the end of October. It was a horrible experience for me, but I think I can tackle the store again alone now. Anxiety is so darn debilitating and makes me act like such a mental mess sometimes.
Nov. 2 with the super narrow aisles and shelves moved
to weird locations in the store

Dec. 15 with the new super tall shelves and everything is in a new spot

December 17: This morning, I saw the most beautiful sunrise that I've seen since our last morning in Mexico. The sky was so vivid, and when I got to school, I tried taking pictures to capture the moment, but the quality of my cell phone camera combined with the city-scape surroundings doesn't make for the best photos of the gloriousness that I beheld with my eyes!
the gloomy view was such a contrast to the brightness in my rearview mirror!

December 17: Micah was awarded the male 6th grade "Student of the Month" award today at the school assembly. We had no idea he was receiving it! It was a fun surprise to find out tonight, though. He's come a long way in his academic and social growth, and I'm so proud of him!

December 17: Josh and I went to a Christmas party tonight, and when I told the boys we would be going, Micah said "How come you get to go to all the Christmas parties? I want to go to Christmas parties!". He's watched me make food and leave for 4 different parties this month: the Stake adult party where Amanda and I were the entertainment, Gina's girl's night out Christmas party, my work party at the bowling alley, and Amanda's work party. No wonder he feels so left out! He said he'd like to have a Christmas party, and when I asked him what we'd do at it, he said "invite all my friends over to hang out", to which I replied: "That's a birthday party, and you'll have one in September".  

December 18: Day 1 of our 17-day christmas break: woke up to fresh snow, Ammon went to the boosters orange sale, josh and the twins shoveled snow, I taught a piano lesson, Ammon had a home basketball game that we all went to, and I volunteered in the boosters food booth. What a full 1st day of vacation!

December 19: Day 2 of our 17-day Christmas break: Josh took the twins to a youth activity to Lost Trail Hot Springs, Ammon went snowboarding with friends, Kanyon and I listened to Christmas music as we did jobs around the house, I made a pillowcase for the first time EVER (and it was actually successful due in large part to a YouTube tutorial video), I folded and put away 3 loads of laundry, took Kanyon shopping for his brother's Christmas gift, and we had a nice family join us for dinner this evening. It's been a wonderful day for all of us!

December 20: Day 3 of our 17-day Christmas break: Kanyon and i both sang in our church Christmas program this morning, we ate dinner with Josh's parents after church, I made caramel popcorn balls for the first time in my life, took a Sunday siesta, we played the game cranium with some good friends, and started our star wars marathon by watching episode I. It has been a truly enjoyable day!

December 21: Day 4 of our 17-day Christmas break: slept in, the boys helped me move everything out of the family room, the twins got to go sledding with their friend, josh ripped out the carpet, Ammon and I pried staples from the floor, josh started installing laminate wood flooring and got over half the family room done, I sent out Christmas cards, took Jonah shopping for his brother's Christmas gift, and we watched episode II of the star wars movie marathon with some friends. It's been a productive day with a beautiful snowfall tonight. (Seeing snow fall under streetlamps is so magical for me. It takes me back to my childhood, living in Denver, looking out my bedroom window and watching snow fall under the street light across the street.) 

December 22: Day 5 of our 17-day Christmas Break: Josh finished installing the laminate wood flooring in our family room, I stained the border piece, I fixed the edge of the carpet piece in the hallway adjacent to the new wood floor, the boys went to the neighbor's house to go sledding, Josh & I moved all the furniture back into the family room, I took Ammon shopping for his brother's Christmas gift, I went visit teaching, I made some goodies and the boys helped me to start delivering them to neighbors, and we watched Episode III in our Star Wars marathon tonight at a friend's house. We are loving Christmas Break!!

December 23: Day 6 of our 17-day Christmas Break: Josh and I drove to the Amish store to finish some Christmas shopping, I finished making neighbor goodies, Josh took the boys and their friends sledding, I worked on my college class, I taught a piano lesson, I took Micah shopping for his brother's Christmas gift while Josh and the other boys finished delivering neighbor goodies, Josh and I took Kanyon on his monthly date to Savage Grill (he's in a chicken phase, so he wanted a chicken burger, chicken nuggets, and a shake), the boys and I decorated gingerbread houses, and we all watched the original Star Wars movie tonight in our movie marathon!

December 23 [Posted by Josh]: Now this is what Christmas break is all about.

December 24: Day 7 of our 17-day Christmas break: mailed a package to England (they most likely will not get it in time for Christmas unless Santa is a miracle worker), tried to surprise Josh's parents with their gift (but totally failed at it), I made lunch for the family, we watched empire strikes back in our movie marathon, I made snacks to take to a party tonight, i wrapped the boys' Christmas eve gifts, we went to a Christmas eve party, the boys opened their pajamas, and now josh and i begin the task of wrapping all the other gifts (nothing like waiting til the last minute)...

December 25: Day 8 of our 17-day Christmas Break: we slept in this morning! We all got up about 8:30, then the kids opened their stockings & saw their Santa gifts, and they opened their gifts from each other. Josh and I made breakfast, we ate french toast & bacon, and then continued the gift unwrapping. I took photos of the boys with their new gifts as Josh went to town to shovel sidewalks at a few homes. We enjoyed being lazy at home in our pajamas all day. The boys played with their new toys, we watched Return of the Jedi this afternoon, I called and talked to my parents, Josh and I made the traditional ham & potato dinner for our family, his parents, and uncle & aunt. Tonight we went to the theater and watched the final installment in our Star Wars marathon: The Force Awakens. I loved spending Christmas at home with my little family!!

December 26: Day 9 of our 17-day Christmas Break (boo, it's half over): we slept in (again!), I balanced my checkbook, Josh and I took down the Christmas tree, we all packed our bags for an overnight trip, Josh drove us to Stanley (coldest place in Idaho--currently negative ten degrees) to visit Josh's aunt's family, the boys played video games with their big cousins, I wrote and submitted a college paper, and we ended the day by playing a rousing game of "Telestrations" and laughing hysterically with the Forsgren cousins.

December 27: Day 10 of our 17-day Christmas break: woke up in our hotel room in Stanley to see that it was -18 outside. We went to church, Ammon gave a talk, and the other 3 boys did a special musical number. Aunt Janet made us all lunch afterwards and some of us played the game "bang" while the others played video games, all with the Forsgrens. We drove back home this evening, and our animals were glad to see us since it was also cold in Salmon last night and they were anxious to come inside. We are happy to sleep in our own beds tonight!

December 28: Day 11 of our 17-day Christmas Break: we packed our bags this morning, drove to Utah to visit my parents, and the boys watched the first 2 "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies on the drive (so grateful to have a vehicle with a DVD player). Two of my sisters joined us for a yummy dinner at my parents home, and my mom and dad opened their Christmas gifts from the kids. We talked, played games, reminisced, and laughed until it was time for my sisters to go, and then the boys played wii and XBox until it was time for bed.

December 29: Day 12 of our 17-day Christmas break: we slept in, my dad took us skiing (and snowboarding) at the new cherry peak ski hill in Richmond, Kanyon got his 2nd lesson ever in snowboarding, we went to eat afterwards at Chick-fil-A (a first for my boys) with my dad, we watched the Tremonton city Christmas light show tonight with my mom, and the boys helped their grandma complete a puzzle.

December 30: Day 13 (I'm sad that number ends in a 'teen' already) of our 17-day Christmas break: Josh and I took Jonah and Micah to the Brigham city temple to do baptisms. It was their 1st time going to the temple and we enjoyed it. We all packed our bags and Josh drove us home to salmon. We stopped for lunch at jack in the box (another 1st for the boys) and they watched the last 2 Pirates of the Caribbean movies on the ride. Our animals were excited to greet us when we arrived. I worked on my college class for a few hours and submitted two papers, Josh shoveled sidewalks in town, and I gave the boys haircuts tonight.

December 31: Day 14 of our 17-Day Christmas Break: We discovered that our ticket in last night's lottery had 3 of 5 matching numbers plus the same power ball, and we were excited to cash it in for $100 this morning (we've been buying lottery tickets now that the prize is over 200 million because we really want to build a new school in Salmon)! Josh watched football most of the day and finished reading a book, the boys started arguing (a sign they're ready to go back to school), I made snacks for New Years parties, Jonah & Micah went to a friend's house for a NYE sleepover, Ammon went to a party, Josh and I played the game "Settlers of Catan" with friends and Josh won, we played the radio trivia game with Josh's parents and won the "non-themed" song montage, and Kanyon was still awake at midnight, but fell asleep shortly after.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

The Tolmans in 2015

JOB: Golf Course Superintendent, School Bus Driver, Mows lawns
SPORTS: Ran a 5K
FUN: Reading books & the daily newspaper, Riding motorcycles, and Floating the river
NOTEWORTHY: Crossed off a bucket list item by going on a scout hike & campout with the twins to the Bighorn Crags in the wilderness

JOB: Works in kindergarten & preschool classrooms
STUDENT: Full-time online student at WGU
FUN: Loves to perform & sing at the karaoke bar, community functions, & special occasions
NOTEWORTHY: Went to Mexico with Josh for his birthday. It was a dream come true!

STUDENT: Sophomore in high school
SPORTS: Cross Country, Basketball, and Golf
JOB: Mows lawns & Worked at the golf course
FUN: Riding motorcycles, Snowboarding, & iPhone
NOTEWORTHY: Turned 15 in January, got his driver’s license, & bought a car

STUDENT: 6th grader at SJSHS
SPORTS: Football and Soccer
JOB: Changed pipe on the ranch for Grandpa
FUN: Riding 4-wheeler, Air Soft Guns, & Xbox
NOTEWORTHY: Turned 12 in September, started going to Young Men’s, and shot his first deer!

STUDENT: 6th grader at SJSHS
SPORTS: Cross Country and Soccer
JOB: Changed pipe on the ranch for Grandpa
FUN: Riding bikes, Reading, Camping, & iPod
NOTEWORTHY: Turned 12 in September, graduated from primary, and hunted for the first time!

STUDENT: Straight-A 3rd grader
SPORTS: Soccer and Basketball
JOB: Mowed our lawn, and Raised pumpkins to sell at a Pumpkin Festival
FUN: Climbing trees, Playing w/friends, Videogames
NOTEWORTHY: Turned 8 in February & got baptized by his dad—he was also the special musical number at his own baptism

Thursday, December 24, 2015

On the 5th {& final} Day of the Mexico Vacation for My True Love and Me

I'm sad to write about this last day of our vacation to Mexico. I actually cried uploading these videos. I'll be honest, for about a month afterward, I was sad every day I woke up and wasn't in Mexico. The only thing that's seemed to console me is having a plan to return!!

Our flight out of Cancun was scheduled to leave at 12:40, so we knew we had a couple hours left to enjoy our remaining time at the resort. I'd wanted to see the sunrise over the ocean every morning since arriving in Mexico, but had never woken up early enough to do it, so I made a commitment to myself that I would wake up early enough on Monday the 9th so that I could see it before we left. You know when you get so excited/nervous about something that you can't sleep well? Yeah, me too. I was so afraid that I would miss it again, that I kept waking up every half hour starting at 5:30am (which is actually 3:30 our home time). Finally at 7:30, I got up, got dressed, and headed down to the water, because I couldn't take it any more! One of the things I really loved about our time in Mexico was that it never felt cold. When the sun went down at night, everyone would leave the beach, but the temperature didn't change, so I would enjoy sitting out there even after dark. Apparently, it's the same in the early morning before the sun rises: it wasn't cold at all, and the beach was quiet, bare, and so peaceful! I could spot some paddle boarders off in the distance and watched them for a few minutes. Josh and I both agree that if we were to take a ferry in the future, morning would be a much better time than the evening (like we did), because the waters were so calm!!

Josh joined me a few minutes later, and we watched with delight as the sun slowly rose on the horizon!








9:00am - this was right before we decided it was time to leave the beach.

We loved staying at The Reef. We would totally come and stay here again!!!
I loved their logo--if you look close enough at that circle of reef, you can see the
name of the resort inside it. Their cups had the same logo on them, but it was
inside out & backwards. We had SO many mango daiquiries, and I kept trying to
figure out what the lettering represented on the cup. I finally discovered what the
inscription meant. That's actually when we realized the circle of reef even said
the resort's name! We thought it was genius! If they'd had shirts for sale with the
same logo on it, we totally would've bought them!

The pool was so vacant in the morning!! 

We headed inside for one last buffet breakfast, after soaking in as many of the sun's rays as time would allow. Staying at an all-inclusive resort was definitely the way to go. We loved having so many edible options at our fingertips every day without extra cost or transportation or stress. They had such a huge variety of items for every meal. There were always multiple proteins, fruits, vegetables, carbs, and drinks. And they made the food display so beautiful every day, too!

This was my favorite breakfast item: Chilaquiles.
I have no idea what it is, but I had it every morning!

I had this juice every morning, too: 75% orange and 25% green
I freaking loved it!!! My cup is under the green dispenser. Every day
Josh would tell me that my creation looked disgusting.

Every morning there was a cook who grilled on a large skillet different things made
to order. On the last morning there, he was making eggs to order. On my last trip around
the buffet, he made two over-easy for me: they are my favorite way to eat eggs! I was
 super happy to eat them, and obviously the way I plated my food reflected that
happiness, because after I sat down, I realized the food on my plate looked like
a smiley face!

Josh was done eating before me, and didn't want to wait for me to join
him again at the table since there was a line waiting for the grill cook,
so while I waited for my eggs and ate them, he went back to the room.
This is how I found him: enjoying our view on the deck one last time!

After breakfast, we packed our bags, and left the hotel about 10:00am. We got a taxi ride for the drive back to the Cancun airport, which is about 45 minutes away. We enjoyed the sights along the way much more than the first time we'd passed them all a few days earlier (after we'd ridden on an uncomfortable midnight flight and arrived in Mexico with super rainy weather). We passed by the Mayakoba resort which was scheduled to host the PGA tour just days later. It was about 15 miles away from our own resort (and a few days after we got home, we watched it on TV, and I cried several times seeing the beautiful Mexico beaches and trees). When we arrived at the Cancun airport, we printed up our tickets, and this time the Frontier scanning machine had no problem with our passports. We bought a few more souvenirs, and waited about an hour before we were set to board. I was SOOO tired (because I'd slept like crap to catch the sunrise, but it was totally worth it!) and I had a headache, so I took a power nap on the uncomfortable airport chairs. When I woke up to use the bathroom, I realized we were right next to a BubbaGump restaurant. I took this photo of the sign in front of the restaurant, because I can never quote Bubba just right from his famous quote in the Forrest Gump movie:

Our seats on the first flight were right over the wing, but as we took off from Cancun, I got some nice shots of the greenery and beaches that I'd fallen in love with while in Mexico.
Everything is so green!

Check out that blue, blue water. You can't even tell
where the water ends and the sky begins!!

This is Cancun from a distance. The water is truly that
light blue! It is breathtaking!

We arrived in Denver at 3:00, then had a 3-hour layover before boarding the flight to SLC. It took forever to go through customs. Thank goodness there's a terminal train inside that airport, because it felt like we walked forever to get to customs, but then we got to take the train back to the terminal that our next flight was at. We ate some dinner at KFC, and I was SO glad to have access to 'real' milk again! It was the first thing I bought at the airport! I took another nap while waiting for our flight (since Frontier flights are so uncomfortable, there's no sleeping on them!). We arrived in SLC about 7:45 that night. My sister Tabbi came and picked us up, took us to our car at her house, and we started the long journey home. We were not prepared for a huge snowstorm that hit us about an hour after Idaho Falls. We should've made it home about 2:00am, but driving through the un-plowed thick snow with an icy base, and having more snow falling also made it hard to see (comparable to the Star Wars intro), so we didn't get home until 3:00am. I'm glad we even made it! At one point, we weren't sure if we would. We had been following in a semi truck's path, but at Tendoy, the truck was pulled over and there were no tracks to follow. We were in the small silver box car, and even with our snow tires, we were sliding on the road, and the car was losing speed and we thought we might have to park on the side of the road and wait until the snowplows come. But we [slowly] made it all the way home! We were both beyond exhausted at that point after such a long day of traveling (and waking up early).


When we walked into our home, the lights were off, and the children were in bed (they'd taken care of themselves in our absence with the help of Grandpa and Grandma T. who live next door). The house was clean, the counters were cleared off, and the boys had hung a birthday banner for Josh, put some cookies on a plate for him, and put some of their Halloween candy in a bucket as a gift to him. It was super thoughtful, and made me tear up a bit. We were so glad to be home, and couldn't believe they'd been so kind!

Josh and I both went to work the next morning--errr, I mean THAT morning just a few hours later. And it was during that day that I started having severe cramps and diarrhea. I thought perhaps I'd had the flu, but after a few days, it didn't go away. I'll spare you the details, but essentially I had contracted a bacterial water-borne illness (most likely from the ice in my treasured horchata drink). It took several days on an antibiotic before I started feeling better (although in hindsight, I think it was  a blessing that I got so sick, because I lost almost all the weight that I'd gained back while we were on vacation!). Josh got sick, too, but in a different way: when we landed in SLC, he started feeling dizzy and his vertigo was off. He had altitude sickness, and it took over 2 weeks for him to stop feeling dizzy and the headache to go away. As I was sick, I kept crying that I just wanted to go back to Mexico because everything was happy there. But Josh felt differently when we first came home, he kept saying: "Mexico made us sick, and I don't want to go again if it feels this bad to come home", which just made me even more sad. Now that it's been nearly two months, though, I think we're both ready to go back because we feel better and we remember the good! Josh breathed and slept better while we were there (the humidity worked wonders on his throat), I was more relaxed (which is a gift because the older I get, the more anxiety I have), he was happy (at one point he even said to me "by the way, I love this" as we were sitting by the pool, and he very rarely makes such vocal expressions of happiness), and we enjoyed each other's company immensely (well, except for that last night, but that's to be expected). It was definitely my favorite vacation ever, and I can't wait to go again--this time hopefully we'll get others to join us, too! (Mark down February 2017 on your calendars!!!)