Friday, March 31, 2017

Winter 2016/17 Top Ten

It was a productive winter! And a super long one, too! We had so many freezing days with temperatures in the negatives, and received more snowfall this year than we have in about ten years! Winter seemed to last forever! I remember the first time I heard a bird sing in February, and I was so excited that spring was actually coming! I'm super glad that spring is here now!

1. Get a Christmas Tree 

[completed 12/2] We got a beautiful pine tree the first weekend of December on the road above Williams Lake. Thankfully, it hadn't snowed very much yet, so getting the tree was quite an easy task, and it wasn't too far from the road, either. Our tree was gorgeous and we all loved it!

2. Watch Ammon's Basketball Games

[completed 2/14] Ammon's team grew so much together over the season, and won multiple games towards the tail-end of the season. We were so grateful for his coach Boyd Stokes for returning to coach the team this year. Ammon grew as a ball player, and played excellent defense as well as scoring multiple 3-point shots. We loved attending his games and watching the team improve throughout the season.

3. Celebrate Christmas Eve & Christmas Day in Salmon

[completed 12/25] We loved the party at the Linger's on Christmas Eve--we all had so much fun and stayed until midnight! Christmas morning was laid back and enjoyable at home with the boys. Christmas was on a Sunday, so we went to church services that morning. We invited the Judy's over that night for Christmas dinner, movie, and games. It was a wonderful white Christmas!

4. Celebrate New Year's with the Tolmans 

[completed 1/1] We invited Hannah and Johnny to join us, and Malachi and Molly were visiting Salmon, too. After Ammon shot an elk, and he and Josh packed it off the mountain, we celebrated the end of the year by working on a puzzle, playing monopoly, eating food, and playing the radio oldies song montage contest--which we won (old news, right?!).

5. Watch Jonah and Micah's Basketball Games 
[completed 2/23] This was the first year that they've played competitive basketball. They were both on the 7th grade team, with a good group of boys, and a great first-year coach. Although they didn't have a winning season, they progressed and improved tremendously over the season and we are so proud of them!

6. Celebrate Ammon's Birthday
[completed 1/15] For his family party, we ate at Bertram's together. A few days after his birthday, he invited the Jackson's over for his birthday meal of chicken enchiladas and homemade salsa, and we had peanut butter chocolate cheesecake for dessert. He's officially 17 now!!

7. Go Sledding 
[completed 12/26] We had so much snow this year, that we went sledding a few times. Our favorite time was when we went with the Simmons family and the Williams family over Christmas Break.

8. Celebrate Kanyon's Birthday 
[completed 2/10] He had a friend party this year; I took him and two of his friends to play at Blast Off in Idaho Falls on his birthday. The day after his birthday, he opened presents, and we ate his birthday meal of steak and potatoes, as well as his chosen dessert of brownies and ice cream. He is now 10 and is in the double digits!!

9. Go Skiing/Snowboarding
This did NOT get completed...everyone went on different occasions except for Kanyon and I, but not for the lack of trying! We actually had one day scheduled to go, but then I had a medical procedure scheduled on that day over Christmas Break so we put it off. Due to time and money--two things it takes to go, and two things that I was lacking in these last few months--it never happened after that!

10. Kala start Student Teaching
[completed 1/3] I taught in a 2nd/3rd split level class at our elementary school in Salmon with an awesome Host Teacher, Mrs. Centeno.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

February 2017

February 1: We received yet another inch of snowfall! Ammon had a basketball game at North Fremont, and Josh drove the bus, so they were gone all afternoon and evening. I took the twins to the YM/YW tag activity that night, (that I found out a couple days prior that I would be in charge of). So...I got released from my primary pianist calling of 3 years at the end of January and got called as a Mia Maid Advisor in the Young Women's organization. Since February was Mia Maid's month to be in charge, and the counselor over Mia Maids was going to be out of town, the activity defaulted to me. The timing of the new calling was pretty shocking to me--I'd had a feeling last fall multiple times that a change was coming, but nothing ever happened, and once student teaching started in January, getting a new church calling was honestly the furthest thing from my mind! It's taken me a bit to adjust, but I enjoy being with the girls, so it's all going to work out just fine.
Due to all the snowfall, elk were hanging out pretty close to our house for a bit!

February 2: It was parent teacher conferences at the elementary school, so Kanyon got to stay home for the day. I worked cleaning out Mrs. Centeno's room in between our scheduled conference times, and I had the opportunity to go to Kanyon's teacher's classroom later in the afternoon to talk to her for about Kanyon's progress! Jonah and Micah had their last ski day, and I picked them up after my last conference time. They had a great day, and I'm glad for the opportunity they had to go with the school's P.E. program.
Kanyon's ocean floor diarama that I picked up at his Parent Teacher Conference

February 3: I had my hair cut and colored--I changed the base color of my bangs to a more reddish color, and I love the result! We received another 3 inches of snow, bringing this season's total to a whopping 30"! Jonah and Micah had a game at Teton in the afternoon, and it was the only game that neither Josh nor I went to. It was such a long drive, and with the snow, we opted not to. Ammon also had a game that evening at home against West J, so we both stayed home and watched it instead. And we were so glad we did! It was the FIRST game that the Varsity team had won all season!! And the JV game was pretty darn close to winning, too! We were so excited for the boys!

I loved that the coach's dad hobbled out onto the floor to hug the coach
for their first win. It was a tender moment!

February 4: Ammon had a game another home game against Darby that evening. It was the first game that JV won this season and the Varsity won again, too (back-to-back victories!!). It was extremely exciting! It was also Savage Strong night, so Josh and I both donned our t-shirts in support. We went to the boys' hockey senior night after the basketball games ended, which is actually the first time I've ever watched hockey in Salmon. Ammon's friend Tim came up from Boise to play with the team, so we watched part of the game (which they won as well!). Afterwards, we went to the Jackson's house and played some games with them (we love playing Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride with them). It was an overall fantastic night!

February 5: Superbowl Sunday!! Our family spent it with the Jackson's again (that's where we went last year, too). Darcy made sliders, which I requested because they were SOO good last year, and they definitely didn't disappoint. We had a ton of food that everyone munched on during the game. The game was rather slow and boring until the fourth quarter, but the halftime show with Lady Gaga was absolutely amazing! The commercials weren't even as good this year for the most part, so I'm glad we were with good company to enjoy our time together, because the game would've been a letdown if not. Ammon's guess was the closest to the actual final score, and he took home the bag of chocolate this year. In fact, his guess was practically right on; he guessed that his team (the Patriots) would win 34-27, and the final score was 34-28! We thought the Falcons had it in the bag, but the Patriots came from behind in the exciting 4th quarter to take the prize.
Darcy's delicious sliders!
The prediction board

February 7: We got an extraordinary 5 more inches of snowfall, which means we received 35" overall this winter! I can't remember the last time we got that much! Unfortunately, however, Ammon and his friends had a 21 Pilots concert in Bozeman that evening and had to drive through the snowstorm the whole way. Josh decided to drive for them because he knew they would be home so late (after 2am), and Ammon's last home ball game was the following day, and he wanted Ammon to be well rested for it. He took the suburban, and he said the roads were horrendous! They didn't leave Bozeman until midnight, and got home about 4am!! He gets the best dad award for being the chauffeur on that weekday trip!

February 8: It was the Boys Basketball Senior Night against Ririe--the #1 rated team in our district. The boys played a hard game, but they weren't able to come away with the win. The team improved so much over the season, and it was a joy to watch them improve and exciting to see the changes they made.

February 10: Kanyon's 10th birthday! Jonah and Micah had an away basketball game at Firth, so I told Kanyon to invite a couple of friends and we'd go to the ballgame together and then to Blast Off in Idaho Falls to play. He invited Lucas and Aidan, and they joined us for the day. Thankfully, Josh didn't have to drive the basketball bus, so he got to drive with me in the car instead! I love when that happens, because it's so rare--I usually have to drive alone to sporting events that are away. I was feeling sick with a sore throat and nasal congestion, so I was feeling rather tired, so I was especially grateful that he drove. I love that our suburban has a DVD player, so that kept the boys entertained on the long drive as well. The game was reffed horribly (have I ever mentioned that I hate Firth?!). After a round of terrible calls, followed by a shove made by one of the Firth players that pushed Peyton to the ground and knocked his glasses off, I yelled to the ref "Are you going to call that?". He said "Ma'am, you better stop." I repeated "Are you going to call that?", which he did and I said "Good!", and then I got ejected from the game. It was completely unprovoked, and since I'd had a sore throat, I hadn't even yelled anything prior to that. I was utterly shocked to be thrown out in the 3rd quarter, and so pissed at the ref for taking it so out of context. I left and took the 3 younger boys to Idaho Falls, and Josh stayed until the end of the game. He rode on the bus with them back to Idaho Falls where they stopped to eat, and I picked him up there. Kanyon and his friends had a great time at Blast Off; I got them the package deal, so they could participate in all of the activities and got 10 tokens each for the arcade as well. Since it was a Friday afternoon, the place wasn't busy at all, and they enjoyed playing for about 3 hours! They got along so well, and they were awesome to spend the day with. We left to pick Josh up, took the boys to eat dinner, did a little shopping, and drove home in time to hit the tail end of the band's fundraiser "Swing Night" at the high school. When the twins' bus had returned to Salmon (ahead of us), they went inside to the fundraiser dance to wait for us, and Ammon & Hannah were there as well. I got to watch Darcy sing her song, and Josh and I even danced to a few songs, which made my heart so happy. 

Darcy singing "All About the Bass"

February 11: Ammon had the ACT early that morning (which we later learned he scored a whopping 29 on!!!! Woo-Hoo!). Jonah and Micah had scout pow-wow that morning as well. Lucas spent the night at our house, because he lives in Gibbonsville and we decided it would be easier to have a sleepover than drive him home so late. I met his dad in town that afternoon when I went in to pick up the twins from the church. We celebrated Kanyon's birthday that evening with gifts, his birthday meal of steak, and brownies & ice cream for dessert.  

My mom always wraps her packages so well that it requires scissors, a pocket
knife, and strong muscles to break them open!

He'd been asking for these Pocket RC Racers for months,
after seeing them on a commercial and was so excited
to actually get what he wanted!

He's definitely a carnivore!

February 12: Kanyon and I worked on our Valentine's all Sunday night. I gave ring pops to my preschool and kindergarten classes, as well as to the class I was student teaching at the time. Kanyon made a Despicable Me baggie for each of his classmates with a Despicable Me valentine card, a minion tic-tac, and Minion tattoos, stickers, or stamps included too. 

February 13: Ammon's basketball team had their first districts game at South Fremont. Since they were the last seed going into the tournament, they had to play the first place team Ririe. Josh drove the bus for it, and let me know how it was wasn't a pretty game. 

February 14: Valentine's Day! Ammon had another away game for the second day of Districts at South Fremont again. This time they played West Jefferson; it was a close game at the end, but they lost by 3 points. Josh drove the bus for it again, and since I wouldn't see him that night, he took me to lunch. We haven't gone to lunch as much since I started student teaching, so I was very grateful for the chance to spend time with him and feed my soul mid-day! Jonah and Micah had a game in Challis that afternoon, so I left school 45 minutes early (and missed our class party) to get to their game. I missed the first quarter, but was able to watch the rest of the game. It was a close game, but we lost 32-38. The boys each brought me a carnation at the end of the game, which was so sweet of their coach to have the boys do that! I took them out for treats at Challis Lanes before driving them home. When I got home, I got the best surprise: Josh had totally deep cleaned our bathroom for me before he'd left on his bus trip! It was so thoughtful and meant a lot! 

Check out how high Jonah's leg is!!

Micah favoring his leg after he just had a bad fall.

February 15: Kanyon's class had their music concert, combined with the all the 4th and 5th graders. He was supposed to wear Red, White, or Blue for their patriotic theme, and since he'd had scouts after school, he left his scout uniform on for the concert. First, the combined grades sang together, then each of the 4th grade classes sang, and then the 5th graders sang and did their flute numbers. I was not at all impressed: initially, there was no sound, so the concert got delayed. Then the teacher had to re-start a song because she was glaring at other students and didn't cue Kanyon's class in on time. The songs they sang to were not accompaniment versions--there was actually singing on the soundtrack, which was distracting. I left when the 4th graders were done, and thankfully so, because I heard the 5th grade flute numbers were a disaster and the way she handled the atrocity was embarrassing. I miss my music job...the kids are capable of performing at such a higher level than this. 

His favorite song was "Interplanet Janet", from Schoolhouse Rock. 

The song "Explorer Style" about Lewis & Clark and Sacajawea, set to the
tune of "Gangum Style" was pretty cute and catchy. 

February 17: I drove to Rexburg to pick up Eve Whall and her roommate Kinley to stay with us for the weekend. Eve's mum had sent her a care package, and included some Hobnobs (per Josh's request) and other chocolate goodies for our family. We love British chocolate! The two girls stayed in Ammon's room for the weekend, and he stayed in the bunk above Kanyon's bed one night, and the other nights at Eli's house. 

February 18: We went bowling with the Jackson's in the afternoon. We'd originally planned on going sledding, but the rains that had come earlier that week melted the snow on our favorite hill so that was no longer a possibility. Emmy was also home for the weekend with a college friend, so there was a big group of 15 of us all together! We separated into 3 lanes: one for adults, one for girls, and one for boys. We played two rounds, and had a fun time! We took the girls to the Amish store afterwards, and since it was Saturday (their freshly made donut day), the girls each got one. They were so good! We drove them down Main Street to see the Bear and the pedestrian bridge, and watched ice along the river get broken up and float downstream. The girls went on a blind double date that evening with Ross Roylance and Ammon Grover; I'd set them up because I thought it would be fun for the girls to do something with other people besides just us the whole weekend. They ate out and had a bonfire with the guys. 

That's a lot of shoes for just our group!

February 19: After church, we ate at Ed & Kathy's, then went hiking up to Goldbug. The girls had heard of these hot springs, and were so interested in going! I'm glad the weather worked out; it was raining that morning but it cleared up by the afternoon. Kinley didn't come prepared with the right footwear (she's from Florida and owns flip-flops and designer shoes), so I lent her some of mine. Ammon and Micah joined us for the hike, but Jonah and Kanyon opted to stay home. Josh and I have never hiked up to Goldbug in the winter--there was still a lot of snow on the ground but the trail was well-traversed. Ammon had gone up with Eli, Victoria, and Hannah on Friday and told us there was snow as well as areas of mud, so at least we knew what to expect. It took us about an hour and a half to get up to the hot springs. My feet were hurting, so I paused halfway up and told the others to go on ahead; by the time I made it to the top, they were already soaking in the pools! The hot springs were busy, but we were able to get a hot pool all to ourselves. Our pool had a little cave, an invigorating waterfall, and a beautiful overlook of the mountains. It was so relaxing and enjoyable. We soaked for about two hours before getting dressed again and returning back down the mountainside. It took us over an hour to get down. The last section with the cutbacks was the worst--it was getting dark so it was hard to see and there wasn't a definite trail at that point, so several of us slid down over the rocky, icy terrain on our backsides. We were wet and cold, and so happy to be back in our nice warm car to drive back home. Josh and I knew we'd be hungry when we got back, so we'd prepared elk roast in the crockpot, and had washed and cut potatoes to make mashed potatoes before we'd left. When we got home, everyone took showers, and we finished making dinner. The girls had never eaten elk meat before. I also made some biscuits to go with dinner, because Eve has never had them either. The term 'biscuits' in England means cookies, so when I'd explained to her what our biscuits were in America, she didn't quite know what I was referring to. We watched a movie after dinner, and felt very rejuvenated from a long hike, a calming soak, and a delicious dinner! 

February 20: President's Day! We didn't have any school, yay! Josh and I drove the girls back to Rexburg, and then the two of us went to the movie "Fifty Shades Darker" in Idaho Falls. I was glad for some time alone with my husband--it had been so busy since the beginning of January due to my student teaching, the boys' basketball schedules, and Josh's out-of-town bus trips that we hadn't gotten to spend a lot of time alone together, and we both needed a break. The date was just perfect!

February 23: Jonah and Micah had their last basketball game of the season at home against Butte County. The boys had a lot of play time, and did their best, but unfortunately their team never won a game this season, although they came close twice. We were very proud of them for working so hard and it was neat to see the improvement they had over the season--their very first game was kind of rough, but they were real competitors by the season's end. The problem is, we are now a one-gym town, and there's not ample space or time for practice, so after 4th grade, there's a gap between youth basketball league in the elementary school and when Jr. High basketball starts in 7th grade. We used to have basketball jamboree, which was for 5th-8th graders to help them learn and practice the skills of the game, but once the middle school closed, that stopped. It's unfortunate, and the impact of our school situation is so apparent especially when we play other schools who have so many more resources than we do.   

The 2017 7th grade team: Jonah, Tyler, Max, Jack, Micah, Coach Eric Platz,
Erik, Talon, Peyton, Bob, and Wyatt

February 24: Jonah and Micah went to Klondike Derby. They built ice caves to sleep in: Jonah slept with Heber in one, and Micah slept with Wyatt P and Erik in another one. Their troop competed in events on Saturday morning and WON, which hasn't happened in years! 

February 25: Ammon had his basketball banquet. They took team photos (minus JJ and Creed), ate desserts, and talked about upcoming plans. There was only one senior this year, but next year there will be NINE!
Varsity Team: Coach Wood, Garrett, Jett, Sam, Hunter, Conner, Devon,
Ethan J, Robel, Ethan A, Ammon, Coach Stokes. Missing: Creed & JJ

The JV and Varsity teams together

February 26: There was a YCC (Youth Cultural Celebration) fireside to announce the schedule and plans for the youth regarding the upcoming Idaho Falls temple celebration. The temple has been closed for over a year and a half and will finally re-open this June. The open house will be in April and May, and the Youth Cultural Celebration Event will be at the Holt Arena at the beginning of June. What an incredible opportunity for our youth! The 3 older boys all committed to participating in it (you must be 12 to participate and Kanyon is only 10), and attending the once-weekly practices in preparation for it. 

February 27: Josh went to Boise for his semi-annual golf meetings. Luckily, the road through Stanley opened JUST that day, after being closed for weeks due to avalanches. It saved him so much time! Going over Banner Summit was eery, though. It was strangely quiet, the snow was plowed to the sides in towering walls, and the road was ice-covered. Thankfully, he made it to Boise without any complications.