Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's That Time Again!

Yep, as much as I wanted to pretend that summer is not coming to an end, I had to face the reality that once again my children are back in school! I contemplated running off with them to some beach house and never coming back, but after seeing how happy Jackson, Maya and Matt are with their new classes and teachers I have to admit, staying home was the right decision!

I know, I know...what a little stud muffin! Watch out girls..or rather watch out Mark and myself...I think we might have a little bit of trouble on our hands!
The first thing Jackson said as he ran through the door after his first day of school was, "I have the BEST fourth grade teacher in the whole school!" Such a relief! This year Jackson got the only male teacher in the entire school and the word was that people either hate him or love him...on the first day he told the class that he doesn't assign homework...hence the BEST teacher in whole school. I think that constitutes best teacher in my book, too!

Such a beautiful princess! The sun was shining right in her eyes and it was making her cry so we didn't get very many pics...we wouldn't want puffy eyes on the first day of school!

Maya is in first grade now and goes to school all day! It's been quite an adjustment for both of us, but she has a really sweet teacher and that has helped a lot. She has a ton of friends in her class this year, which is nice especially after having only one other girl in her class last year! The only negative aspect of first grade is the dreaded "school lunch"! I honestly don't think it's that bad, but her extreme pickyness combined with her brother's constant reminders of how "nasty" the school food is the poor girl is starving! She wants me to send a lunch from home, but she doesn't understand I can't send top ramen!

Talk about handsome! Take note of the shirt...I was actually able to convince Matt to get something other than t-shirts this year and I have to say he looks great!
I can't believe that Matt is in middle school all ready! He seriously is growing up way too fast! He is enjoying the freedoms and different environment that middle school provides. He especially loves lunch. He said it's like fast food and there's at least six or more choices, I'm glad he has something to look forward to everyday! He is definitely taking his classes very serious. My Dad wanted to take him dove hunting for a day and I told Matt it was his choice if he wanted to miss school. He actually asked my Dad if they could go on a Saturday or after school, I'm just wondering where my Matt went to because normally he would jump at any chance to miss school!

All in all it's started out as a great school year and I'm sure with the right attitudes we can keep it that way!!!

Fresh Veggies!

I just love all of the fresh vegetables that are available this time of year! It's so fun to make new recipes with vegetables from the garden, they're just so yummy and healthy! Thanks to my parents and a new fresh produce farm down the street from our house we will be cooking up and bottling lots of yummy favorites in the next few weeks! Salsa, spaghetti sauce, stewed tomatoes, soups ~ I can't wait!!!

*FYI: The fresh produce farm near our house has TONS of yummy, just-picked veggies at great prices! Check them out! Petersen's Family Farm 11800 S. 4000 W. (No, it's not my family is spelled Peterson!) :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Today the kids and I went to The Gardens at Thanksgiving Point with my sisters, thier kids, and my parents. Today was $2 Tuesday so we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take all of the kids without spending a fortune ~ WRONG!!! It seems the whole world had the same idea! My parents were the first ones to get there and stood in the entrance line for almost a half hour! Crazy, the things grandparents will do! Despite feeling like we were in an overcrowded zoo, I think all in all everyone had a pretty good time! Of course all the kids had to soak themselves in the water at the ark, except for Matt and Jackson, they are simply too cool for such childish games!!!

Macie and Maya climbing on the ark
Macie dancing in the water
Macie, Maya and Emma

Unfortunately, I ran out of room on my memory card so I didn't get very many pictures! I wish I could have gotten pictures of the big waterfall and the kids rolling down the huge grassy hills with Aunt Katie, it looked kind of fun, I might have to try it next time!

I did get one picture of all of the kids together, definitely not the best picture, but hey it has everyone in it!

Katelyn, Emma, Cole, Macie, Maya, Matt and Jackson

Definitely a fun day, but next time I think I'll fork out the money for regular price admission and enjoy without the crowds!!!

Summer Nights

I love that every evening as I do the dinner dishes I see this:

It makes me so happy to see all of my kids playing together! I love it so much that I don't even mind them not helping with the dishes! Grandpa and Grandma Taylor bought the swing and the airplane for them about a month ago and now every night as soon as the kids finish eating they run outside for one last adventure of the day! As I watch them through the kitchen window, I am filled with gratitude and an absolute love for fun, carefree summer nights!

Thank you Grandpa and Grandma Taylor!!!
And thank you to my kids for giving me more happiness then I thought possible!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Seriously So Blessed!!!

The other day I was upstairs doing laundry when I received a picture message on my cell phone and this is what it was! Mark had come home early, snuck into the house with these flowers, taken a picture of them and sent it to me! I was a little confused since I had just been downstairs and there were no flowers and Mark was supposed to still be on his way home! It was such a great surprise! He even got my favorite ~ gerber daisies, in my favorite colors ~ pink and yellow, so sweet :) I am so blessed to be loved so much by someone so wonderful!!! Thank you babe!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Yellowstone Adventure!

Our family in front of the Grand Tetons

Last weekend we escaped to our annual Peterson family river rafting trip! We actually haven't been able to go for the last couple of years so our entire family was extremely excited to go this year! We didn't think that Mark was going to be able to come because of a HUGE trial he had coming up, but at the last minute he was able to settle it (definite answer to many prayers!) and was able to come - thank goodness, because I am NOT a camper and was not too thrilled at the prospect of doing the camping thing without him!

The first two days we camped along the Snake River, just outside of Jackson Hole. The camping actually wasn't too bad. Matt and Jackson filled their time hunting for squirrels. Several years ago when Matt was just little Thomas taught him to make squirrel traps using all of our treats as bait. I think Matt and Jackson have mastered the art of squirrel hunting...poor squirrels! Maya and Macie loved being able to roam and play in the dirt with their cousin Emma! As for Mark and me, we just enjoyed watching our children and had fun talking and laughing with my family!

My parents have their own raft to go down the river in, which is so nice because we are able to go on our own without guides and strangers in the boat. Plus our raft is smaller than the commercial rafts so going through the rapids is much more fun! This year was Jackson's first time going down the entire river and he loved it! Maya and Mae are not quite big enough yet and could only go down the mild part of the river and were pretty upset that they didn't get to get soaked by the rapids! Matt, on the other hand is now older and has to help row down the river and through the rapids. It was definitely tons of fun!

On our third day we all drove up to Yellowstone. I was so excited for our kids to go to Yellowstone for their first time. When I was younger my family went every year and I couldn't wait for our kids to go to all of the places I went to while growing up.

Our first stop was Old Faithful and as tradition goes, my dad bought us all fudgesicles afterwards at the gift shop. It was totally windy and raining on and off, and though we were nearly freezing I loved being with my entire family, enjoying our traditional treat!

Macie, Matt, Maya and Jackson waiting for Old Faithful
Macie, Emma, Katie, Katelyn, Jackson, Matt, Mark and Maya
Old Faithful
Julie, Kellie, Mom, Thomas, Dad
Kevin, Katelyn, Emma, Katie, Kenzie, Maya, Mark
Jackson, Matt, Cole, Kevin Julie, Kellie, Katelyn, Emma
After Old Faithful, we went swimming in the Fire Hole River. I feel so bad because I completely forgot to bring the camera down to the river with us! We had so much fun! The weather was still not that great when we got to the river, it was actually raining, but because the river is so warm it felt better in the river than out! There is a spot where you can jump in the river and the current just carries you down the river to where you can swim and play around. We were able to convince all of the kids to do it and they all loved it! Way FUN!!!

That night we stayed in a hotel in Yellowstone. (So much better than camping!) On our last day we got our fill of the stinky hot pots!

Jamie and Mark in front of the steaming hot pots

Macie loved the white wild flowers on the side of the path so I risked the outrageous fine and picked some for her!Maya enjoying a hot pot that didn't stink!

My favorite adventure of our whole trip was the hike through the forest down to the beach of Yellowstone Lake and playing around on the beach. I laugh when I say "hike" because truly, it's only a five minute walk, but before we got there I was complaining about it being so long. I haven't been there since before I was married and for some reason I remember it being a huge, long hike. I have such good memories, I think some of my best memories, of this particular hike through the forest and along the beach to our families' fishing spot. It is the exact same place my dad used to go fishing with his mom and dad when he was younger and our family has carried on the tradition through the years. I can still remember the thrill of walking through the trees with my cousins, being excited, yet at the same time a little scared of the "unknown" that might be lurking in the forest. I can still feel the nervousness of walking past the moose on the beach, whispering to each other that if they charge toward us we can just run into the water (guess I didn't realize moose can run into the water, too!). I remember the fun conversations of giddy young girls and the bonds that were made on the "long" hike down the forest trail. I am so grateful for the opportunity to re-live this experience and for parents who provided me with such amazing opportunities and memories!

Mark backpacking Macie through the forest. Kenzie, Maya and Thomas using their own two feet!
My Mom, Matt and my DadKatie and Maya
Mark, Macie, Aunt Zan and Uncle Charlie
Matt standing on the beach
I love this picture of Jackson. I think it shows the pure innocence and discovery of a young boy.
My Dad teaching Jackson how to skip rocks.
Jackson in action! I love how you can see the rain hitting the lake in this picture!
Maya practicing cartwheels on the beach
Macie loved playing in the volcanic sand of the beach. She totally dove in and became "one" with the sand!

Jamie and Maya
The best family ever!!!
Matt and Maya frog hunting

Can't wait 'till next year!!!