Thursday, September 14, 2017

Uma boa surpresa

*My 1,000th post!

What a nice surprise we had last Friday night.  We had just gotten back from a dinner in the canyon with other bishops and our state presidency, to find a young woman hovering around our yard.  She asked with an accent if this was "the home of Richards" -- and she and JB started speaking in some English and Portuguese, and it turns out, she is the daughter of a man in Brazil who JB baptized on his mission!

Sabrina is here for school learning English. She got her dad on a video call and I had to take a picture of the conversation to text my dad saying, "Portuguese in my living room right now -- a mission reunion across the time zones."  (My dad served in Brazil, too.)

Seriously, how cool is that? Ruy is still active in the church and from the bits and pieces I caught from knowing some Spanish, it sounded like such a nice catch-up.

We invited Sabrina and her friend Steven over for dinner on Sunday.

No, we did not serve Brazilian food, we served "American food" because Sabrina says she is loving fast food here in the States. So it was a menu of hamburgers, watermelon, potato salad, regular salad, chips, brownies and ice cream.

She is doing very well with English. She and her parents say we should go visit Brazil and visit them, which made my boys super excited about the possibility. That would be a dream trip for sure.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Jamser Preschooler

This four year old is now going to preschool for the first time. After his problems starting primary and his refusal to do swimming lessons, I was worried last Monday night.

But by Tuesday at pickup when he came running out with a big smile, I knew things will be fine. He LOVES preschool.

He goes Tues, Wed and Thursday to the same place Ben and Andrew went, and he's ready to go with a backpack on as soon as he wakes up.

Last Friday he was distraught -- dare I say furious -- when JB told him he did not have school that day. "But I want to go NOOOOOWWWW!"

We used to carpool with two other families with the other boys but this time we don't know any other kids. But James he told me about a boy with a dinosaur shirt on, so hopefully that was BFFs at first glance.

Friday, September 8, 2017


What am I supposed to do with the one cabbage that grew in our yard this year? We don't really eat the stuff.

 It came from school. The third graders all got one. Max's from a few years back did not take. This one did. But, nothing else grew this time. Probably because I am a lazy gardener and did not prepare the soil in that corner.

I tried planting a few vegetables  that my neighbor gave us because she was out of space. They all died. BUT, now, we are reaping the rewards of her great work. Squash and zucchini and tomatoes and peppers, oh my.

While snapping the award-winning poses above, I spotted Millie-girl doing what she loves to do lately -- climb into the wagon.

So proud of herself. She'll sit there quite content while I play baseball with James and Andrew, or while JB lifts weights with his brother Scott in the morning. She moves to the other side and bustles her toys about.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Phone obsessed

Millie only wants the phone, remote control, or laptop from us.  She thinks they are the most desirable toys, because those are the things we play with on the couch. JB plays hideaway with her every morning.

But sometimes she does get a hold of my phone, and then I find pictures like this.

Methinks Ben helped her push the button for a selfie. His smiling eyes in the corner there give him away.

Then, one time when we were all outside, James somehow got my phone and hid in the stroller in the garage. Look who found him!

There were about 20 other pictures on there of her hovering by the stroller, and of various things in the garage. Her favorite thing is to hear Siri talk back to her. James just wants to watch Daniel Tiger on Amazon Prime App, but I have it set with a code, so all he can do is take pictures from the home screen.

The Neftlix App and The Great British Baking Show is my jam lately.  Where has it been all my life? Oh, and the Ryan Hamilton comedy special. Watch it and laugh and laugh.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Tournament life

I found this post sitting in drafts. It was from the spring/summer, when the big boys had a few tournaments in a row for basketball.

Different complexes with lots and lots of temporary courts and hoops all in a row, and then another place that had an indoor field on the side that the little boys just ran and ran and ran in. We spent hours at each place.

I would take selfies to send to my family members at the afternoon games; JB took pictures on the morning games when I wasn't there yet. The bigs have had a break this August, but I think it should pick back up in the fall.  And Andrew wants to be on a Jr Jazz team! I can't wait.

Ben and Millie

Big brothers are the best. I found these pictures again, from the Scout Camp week in July when JB and Max were gone. We stayed at Nona and Papa's house, and Ben was the best helper with Millie.

She climbed up onto his lap when she was tired, and he rocked her in the chair until she fell asleep for a morning nap. I found them like this Monday and Tuesday when I got there after work.

Both mornings she also woke up when I left at 4 AM, and Ben rocked her back to sleep.

Then there was a day when we went to the park, and he was just loving pushing her in the swings.

He was tired both days (WELCOME TO PARENTHOOD) but I was really proud of how he stepped up.

I could also write so much about how Max is a great helper with the siblings, too. He is babysitting for us more often, and can put the little boys in bed. And for Stake Conference evening session, Max and Ben rocked Millie in her seat until she fell asleep.

Andrew at 6 just wants to make her laugh, James at 4 is starting to be more gentle but still doesn't understand his own strength.  I have heard from another woman or two about being the youngest to several big brothers, and sometimes they say they were teased pretty badly, but other times they do say it was lots of fun.

Friday, August 25, 2017

First day of school

We have had one full week of school, and it seems to be going well! Here they all are on the first day, Monday.

Max is 7th, Ben 4th and Andrew 1st grade.

Andrew has the same first grade teacher that Max had, and Ben has a teacher we did not know before. But they seem nice, and each boy knows several other kids in his class.  Max leaves earlier and comes back later than the other boys, and he is missed.

I have to find time to be able to listen to each boy individually because they have had a lot of information to share each afternoon.

James started Upstart online preschool this week, and the day after Labor Day his preschool starts at the high school. He can't wait.  When the boys come home, he kind of attacks them because he doesn't know how to use the words to say "I missed you."

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Lagoon and school preps

It was a good thing we decided to stick around instead of going to California, because we were able to get haircuts then go to Back to School Night on Thursday at two different schools. And Max was able to go to his 7th grade practice day Friday morning at the middle school.

This is the first time we have a bus-rider in our family, because the elementary school is just down the street. I still was on vacation Friday, so Millie and I went with Max to his bus stop.

I am glad I went, because the bus was really late! I called and they said it was a breakdown or something.  It finally came just before school was supposed to start, but ever since then has been on time.  Max found out on Friday that he knows several of the kids on the bus and has classes with a good variety of his friends from elementary school, church, and basketball. He got the hang of his locker, and felt a lot better about things.

After he got home (it was half-day for them), we went to Lagoon's water park for a few hours. Andrew rode some bigger slides for the first time and did great! Millie loved the lazy river. She wanted to be IN the water and kept wiggling all over to see it/splash it.

Saturday we had a laze-around day before the annual stake carnival that night.

Summer suddenly felt like it had sped by!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

MTC Tour and Lego letdown

Thursday's StayCation plans included a tour of the new Missionary Training Center in Provo.

We boarded buses by the football stadium and rode over to the MTC.  JB says he had lots of memories come flooding back as we walked through the halls, because of the 3 months he spent htere before heading to Recife, Brazil.

I remember my mom telling me growing up about how her grandfather's farm and orchards were part of the land that later became the MTC campus.  Memories came back to me of dropping off friends, JB's brother Scott (here is his return), and my brother Seth (here is where I dropped him off).

We walked through the old part, and then the new. I loved the tall ceilings, the light, and the beautiful huge paintings and still photos and quotations on the walls.

Max has just 6 years before he can go!

Max and Ben said the cafeteria looked pretty cool. All those different types of cereal.

On the drive back up to Salt Lake City, we stopped at a place I had read about and told the boys about for several months -- a Bricks and Minifigs Lego Store. I honestly thought it would be fun for them. The big boys have been wanting to use their money on Legos all summer.

The boys had their wallets....but it was SO expensive! It was a visit of about 2 1/2 minutes before turning around and coming back out.  Ben was bummed, Max was disgusted -- and poor Andrew cried and shook his fists and said, "This isn't fun anymore!"  

It was doubly disappointing because we had at one point talked about going to Legoland during this week. But JB the bargain shopper had two new Lego sets at home he pulled out for James and Andrew, and I took Max and Ben to Walmart where they picked out cool sets to spend their money on. And everybody was happy again.

Antelope Island and Ogden Dino Museum

On Wednesday morning we ate another good hotel breakfast (I am being serious, it was quite good!), then we packed up and checked out of the hotel in Logan and drove south. We were going to go to the Ogden Dinosaur Museum first because of driving direction, but switched plans because it didn't open til 10 AM.

So we took the causeway across the Great Salt Lake to Antelope Island. It is very scenic, it's much larger than I expected, but it's not very "fun" for 4 year olds  named James who insist on being the only one to use the telescope viewers.  You can see him below in Max's picture for his scout assignment of some plants on the island.

And then Max took a picture through the viewer of the lone bison we all wanted to see.

We saw another bison on our drive around the island...and some buffalo pooh. Scat. Dung. Droppings. I now have pictures of that, too, on my phone.

So then we went back north east to the Ogden Eccles Dinosaur museum.  This was mainly for Andrew and James, but Ben also came in for fear-of-missing-out and to help me. JB and Max went to get us all some lunch at the Pie Pizzeria location nearby.

Inside the museum was a small-ish room with some skeletons, but upstairs was a robotronic scene that fascinated Andrew and James. We spent a lot of time watching these dinos roar and move. And it was dark and cool and I nursed the baby there.

Baby paleontologist.

They could dig in the sand all day, even though the day before at Bear Lake they had been digging in the sand all day. They showed me every bone they uncovered.

Outside are five acres of dinosaur sculptures. The boys below were running underneath the Brachiasaurus and wouldn't stop to pose.

And then Andrew wanted to be like a T-Rex in front of every predator, just like last fall at Thanksgiving Point's museum.

He made James pose, too. If you saw the video on my Instagram, you saw Andrew trying to get James to stay still for the picture, and James melt down when his arms wouldn't stay inside his sleeves. I just kept giggling as I tried to help them, I couldn't help it.

Then we headed home in time for a quiet time and dinner before Ben's scouts and Max's first Young Men/Young Women combined activity.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Bear Lake

Take me back!

Bear Lake on Tuesday was all right, all right, all right.

We always wake up early, so once we had hotel breakfast, we set off through Logan Canyon for the roughly hour-long drive to Rendevouz Beach. We were the first ones there, though later on it filled up quickly. 

(James with his discovery in the water)

The water level was much higher than two years ago when the boys and I were there with my friend Sarah Allred, but there was still plenty of good sand. I bought sand toys a few weeks ago thankfully.

The boys dug holes, and Millie would climb in.

She was such a beach baby. Loved every thing about the whole experience.

JB had the best idea. He rented a three-seater SeeDo for an hour, and took the boys out in turns. They told me they had a BLAST.  They got to take turns driving it, and they went across to the other side where Max's scout camp was.

Here are Ben and James.

Then Andrew and Max had a turn.

James got cold and tired after his turn.

He even curled up and took a nap in one of the chairs!

Ben, Andrew, and James took turns burying each other in the sand. They tried to surprise the rest of us.

For dinner, upon my friend Sarah's recommendation, we went to Zipz. Very yummy hotdogs and chicken and smothered tots. 

Next door to Zipz is the famous LeBeaus, where we got shakes to share. One Oreo, and one raspberry Oreo. We had a raspberry shake from a shack on the beach that was also yummy. Gosh I could live like that. I guess that's what makes it vacation! 


I took a week off work, and we planned something every day the week before school started.

We started by going up to Logan Sunday after church, where we had dinner and spent the night with JB's former mission companion and his really fun, nice, cute family.  Some of our kids met in December 2009 during this epic trip to Temple Square with our two little boys (Darren took the hilarious pictures), and also referenced here during the great mini-van love affair.

On Monday we explored Logan, walking all around USU Campus and getting some Aggie Ice Cream.  Here are JB and Max on the famous hill.

We took a picture by Richards Hall.  Max was on the lookout for wildlife for a Scouts assignment and we snapped this picture of a squirrel on campus but now I notice the sweetness of 6 year old Andrew holding JB's hand.

We ate lunch at Herms by the Logan River after a recommendation from a friend, and that was delicious. The kids were very good at the restaurant.

Then it was play time at Bridger Park. Ben helped me pick it after we googled parks in Logan and looked at images. It was a good one!  JB put up his hammock and I plopped the baby in there so she wouldn't keep dragging her blanket up and down the stairs.

When it was time to check in to the hotel, we went straight to the swimming pool first.  This girl LOVED the water.  Wanted to crawl in it and put her whole face in.

I didn't get any pictures of Max, but I was proud that these three other boys seemed much braver.

Pray for me/James if we start swimming lessons again, but he needs them.

We also saw the Logan Temple and Logan Tabernacle. They are such beautiful buildings.   After a movie in the hotel room and lots of shushing, it was lights out early. We had a trip to Bear Lake the next day!